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Entries from Cinecultist tagged with 'NYT'

Chatting with NYT's Break Through Amy Ryan

Amy Ryan, flanked by John Ashton and Ed Harris, as Helene in Gone Baby Gone.

On Friday night the New York Times magazine hosted a conversation between editor Lynn Hirschberg and two of their featured subjects (and Oscar nominees) in this week's story on Breaking Through actresses Ellen Page and Amy Ryan, as well as Juno director Jason Reitman. After the fascinating hour and a half conversation, which featured discussions of their work in Juno and Gone Baby Gone as well as a cameo from portfolio photographer Ryan McGinley, Cinecultist had the opportunity to speak one on one with Amy in the green room. The critically lauded (she was nominated for two Tonys and now the best supporting Oscar nod) down-to-earth stage and screen actor couldn't have been nicer—she even complimented CC on our favorite earrings.

It’s so great to meet you because I’ve been talking about your performance ever since I saw it.
Oh, gosh. Thank you.

Something I thought that was interesting that you brought up in the talk tonight was that in your theater career, and then again in your movie career, you’ve had these breakthroughs and I wondered if there was anything that you thought was similar about these two moments?
It is similar to what Ellen was saying about when you read a script and it’s somewhat inexplicable, but your body is just propelling you forward [to do the project]. I think the common thread is that when I first read Uncle Vanya and actually Streetcar, these two plays, I thought 'I have to play these parts.' And when I read Capote, I knew this was a role I had to play, Marie Dewey. I just had to. It was the complexity of her being star struck in tandem with her neighbors just being murdered. What does that feel like, to be this person? I wanted to figure that out. And then with Helene [in Gone Baby Gone], how do you play a drug addict who is considering the fame and also wondering if her daughter is alive or dead, just trying to survive?

So it’s more about the chance to play a certain role rather than, 'Now the world will know me and I’ll have a chance to be famous?'
No, never had that. I remember when I was a kid seeing a play with a famous actress in it and I remember saying to my mom, ‘I hope I’m good before I’m famous.’ Because when you’re famous people will tell you you’re good.

Continue reading "Chatting with NYT's Break Through Amy Ryan"

Age-Appropriate and other Misnomers

What movies are appropriate for children? is the subject of A.O. Scott's well-written essay in today's New York Times. This very topic has been on the Cinecultist brain lately too, between hanging out with our 11-year-old brother and 14-year-old sister over the holidays and writing reviews for, a parenting website. "If it's PG-13, should we write a review about it?" is often a discussion between CC and our editor.

When Cinecultist thinks back to the movies we loved as a child, a huge chunk of them were not children's movies per se. As Scott writes, it's great for kids to feel challenged by their entertainment. Why does everything have to be so sanitized and stripped of all points controversial? Surely there are bloody, disturbing movies like No Country For Old Men out in theaters now that should be avoided with a kid in tow, but something like Persopolis would be perfect for my politics-minded little sister.

When CC, our 27-year-old sister and her boyfriend wanted to take our little brother to the movies over the vacation, we all went to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets. It seemed safe for him and entertaining enough for us. During a few of the more suspenseful moments, CC turned to look at Mark and noticed he had pulled his feet up onto his seat and had his fingers in his ears. Smart strategy: he didn't want to hear the explosion that was about to happen but he wanted to know the outcome. Despite a few of those anxious moments, Mark totally dug the movie and all the way home was asking us if he could become a treasure hunter. When we all encouraged him to let his imagination fly, he seemed a little skeptical but still excited about learning more about his own ancestors just like Nic Cage's character does. Movies do have the power to thrill and inspire, especially for children. They don't always have to fluffy and G rated.

pirates4.jpgAnd speaking of CC's Kaboose reviews, you can read our opinions of Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie on their site. Regarding the Veggies, it was perhaps one of the more boring flicks we've reviewed but at least the angry Cheetos were cute.

Cinecultist Is...

Not dead. Promise. While we know it's one of the cardinal sins of blogging to let said blogging diminish to such a meager frequency it only consists of brief check in posts, that's what has happened to CC.

In lieu of lame apologies, some bullet points of what's been tickling our fancy lately:

* We bought a copy of the new translation of War and Peace put out by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky which the Times and the New York Review of Books have been raving about. Cinecultist promised our friend Adriane we'd set up a schedule of reading so we could discuss it, but apparently we'll not be able to beat the Bill Keller reading pace. Damn dude, you devoured 1273 pages (including summaries and appendixes) in a week, while also running the NYT? Impressive.

* Sometimes for giggles, Cinecultist tries to horrify the salespeople at Kim's on Saint Marks' with our DVD purchases. Unfortunately they're a pretty jaded bunch, but we thought we'd at least get an eyebrow raise when CC put Ratatouille and the Special Collector's Edition of Flashdance on the counter last Saturday. No dice. Both DVDs come with some nice extra features though. On Ratatouille, which is just as charming as it was in the theaters, you can enjoy a hilarious short about the history of rats as narrated by Remy and Emile. Flashdance also includes an extra disc of six classic toe-tapping, nose-blowing audio tracks. In fact as we type right now, CC is bopping along to "What a Feeling." Don't be surprised to see us decked out in leg warmers and t-shirts with the neck cut out shortly.

* If you aren't enjoying Gossip Girl on The CW already, Cinecultist suggests adding it to the DVR sched. It's surprisingly geeky and fun. Case in point, last week when the young Dan (Penn Badgley) wanted some tips when wooing experienced Serena (Blake Lively) he rented I Am Curious Yellow! References to kinky, experimental Swedish cinema from the '60s in a teen-sploitation soap? Awesome.

Too Many Movies To See, or Our Tentative (Insane) Viewing Plan For This Weekend

After a long week of work, Cinecultist needs to get our movie on. But we're a bit overwhelmed by the wealth of options at our fingertips. Here's our list of possibilities. Feel free to leave us pros or cons in the comments.

Fitzcarraldo (at the IFC Center) - Lately we've had Herzog on the brain and we've always been curious about Klaus Kinski's supposedly bonkers performance in this one.

The Jane Austen Book Club (new release) - We're hearing the siren call of the chick lit and the beloved Jane Austen, plus CC read this book so long ago the reasons why we didn't really love it are now fuzzy. Seeing the movie should fill those back in.

Great World of Sound (new release) - We've heard good things, plus a friend suggested going to see it together. Cinecultist is a sucker for movie outings.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (new release) - In the elevator this afternoon at the Day Job, one of those handy dandy trivia screens told us EW gave it an A and the NYT gave it a pretty strong endorsement too. Plus, we have a thing for Brad Pitt on the open range that's left over from seeing Legends of the Fall in the theaters at an impressionable age.

Plus, we have DVDs of Taste of Cherry and Cranes Are Flying at home from Netflix. Oh, and we're going to see Rilo Kiley at Webster Hall on Saturday night and we have to find time in there to eat, sleep and clean the bathroom. Yes, it's going to be a busy few days of rest.

Car Crashes, Hand to Hand Combat and Surprisingly Political

The Damon man talks with director Paul Greengrass on set.

The third installment of the Bourne series, The Bourne Ultimatum, was one of Cinecultist's most eagerly anticipated summer release and as you can tell from our rave on Gothamist yesterday, it didn't disappoint. Our girl Manohla loved it too, and in her review she touched upon what we found so exciting about the movie, that it is popular entertainment with smarts and a point of view.

She writes,

"As Bourne has inched closer to solving the rebus of his identity, he hasn’t always liked what he’s found. He isn’t alone. Movies mostly like to play spy games pretty much for kicks, stoking us with easy brutality and cool gadgets that get us high and get us going, whether our gentlemen callers dress in tuxes or track suits.

What’s different about the Bourne movies is the degree to which they have been able to replace the pleasures of cinematic violence with those of movie-made kinetics — action, not just blood. Mr. Greengrass and his superb team do all their dazzling with technique. They take us inside an enormous train station and a cramped room and then, with whipping cameras and shuddering edits, break that space into bits as another bullet finds its mark, another body hits the ground, and the world falls apart just a little bit more. Without fail, Mr. Greengrass always picks up those pieces, reshaping them so that Bourne can move to the next location, the next kill, as he gets closer and closer to the mystery of his terrible existence."

As the movie thunders towards its climactic showdown, Cinecultist realized that this is one of the most politically minded current Hollywood movies we've seen. Almost as a counterpoint to director Paul Greengrass's brutal September 11 movie from last year United 93, The Bourne Ultimatum looks into the face of our government's policy decisions and demands to know what we've become. It's not enough to say we were just following protocol or making the best decisions we could with the information we had. Like Jason Bourne, our country has to face ourselves in the mirror every morning knowing what we've done. And this coming from a filmmaker who's a Brit.

On The To Do & To See List

Isn't there something terribly festive about a weekend just before a mid-week holiday? It's not like this weekend is anything special but next week is so abbreviated it makes you want to sing with joy. Also, the humidity broke in New York, so that's another reason today is happy day. Here's the Cinecultist's big no-holiday weekend plans:

- Watch the Netflixed DVD of Little Dieter Needs to Fly. CC saw Rescue Dawn recently which we thought was very disturbing and fucked-up-but-in-a-good-way. Now we need to know what Werner Herzog thought was the deal with Dieter before he learned the real deal about Dieter and made it into a movie with Christian Bale.

- Eat take-out and Tasti D-Lite. Summer makes us a little lazy on the cooking front and obsessed with low cal frozen treats that taste like fake mud pie.

- Relax by going to yoga class and getting a hot salt scrub at Bliss. Dry scaly skin begone thanks to lovely birthday gift certificates.

- Go to another New York Asian Film Festival screening. This one is of Getting Home which is from China and about peasants, if we recall correctly.

- Think about going to a screening of one of the Kino films at Lincoln Center which we recommended on Gothamist today.

- Potential Mitzvah: wander around in front of a theater playing Evening and try to persuade patrons not to spend their $11.75 on a ticket. Gawd, that movie blows and sucks, as Manohla Dargis more eloquently put it in her NYT review. Avoid, avoid, avoid!

- Maybe go to the Richard Serra exhibit. Maybe do a little shopping. Maybe take a nap. The possibilities are endless!

Anticipation, Internet-Style

Some things to look forward to while Cinecultist still tries to cope with the frigid New York winter weather. Oh April, where are you dear spring-time friend?

* David Fincher's new movie Zodiac. Love that Gyllenhaal and love that grey/green palate. The New York Times reports.

* One week to go until the Oscars. Web coverage has really increased this year, as per this NYT trend article. CC's looking forward to continuing with our liveblogging tradition with fellow Gothamist and Oscar telecast junkie Jen Chung.

* CC has already read it, but you should be looking forward to getting your hot little hands on Lisa Graff's very excellent kids book, The Thing About Georgie. We interviewed Lis (aka our favorite Mandy Moore movie going partner) as part of her blog tour on Gothamist.

Links and News, Friday Edition

* Turns out DVR may not necessarily equal the imminent death of television commercials because Nielsen discovered "people who own digital video recorders, or DVRs, still watch, on average, two-thirds of the ads." Durr.

* Money making scheme of the week: Make some extra bucks by listing your home on a movie locations website. Though the Cinecultist probably won't be doing it anytime soon, our Eee Vee residence is barely big enough for us and our DVDs, let alone a movie crew.

* spends some time thinking about iconic songs from movie soundtracks and have included imbedded YouTube clips for some quality procrastination time. Unfortunately their list is missing Carly Simon's "Let The River Run" from Working Girl but that could be because Stuff is more of a dude publication.

* Cinecultist Viewing Tip: Iraq In Fragments, one of our favorite documentaries from last year and an Oscar-nominee, begins a run at Cinema Village this weekend.

* Ben Sisario stood in a lot of lines in the bitter cold for free TV show taping tickets. Check out his New York Times article for tips on that very New York experience. P.S. For the music-minded, we hear 50 highly coveted Arcade Fire tickets at each Judson Memorial Church show are available via a stand-by line. Hypothermia, shmypothermia.

Elsewhere On The Web, Monday edition

* Jake Paltrow interviews a bunch of Oscar-nominated actors about their early influential flicks for the New York Times Magazine. Please try to disregard the pretentious Andy Warhol screen test style of his video. He's still trying to come out from behind that familial shadow cast by sister Gwynie.

* The very pop culturally astute Charlie Suisman of Manhattan User's Guide is now contributing content to the cable network Trio's new site, getTrio. It looks like it's going to be sort of like Flavorpill, only with a daily blog format and with a TV slant.

* The New York Daily News ranks 100 romantic New York movies but puts The Apartment way too low on the list for Cinecultist's taste.