Review: AVA: A LIFE IN MOVIES is a feast for the eyes and the mind

Ava Gardner — Grabtown, North Carolina’s Christmas gift to the world — was probably most familiar to me as one of the quintessential femmes fatales, Kitty in The Killers, and as the determined, loyal woman who saved her husband Frank Sinatra’s career by getting him the role of Maggio in From Here To Eternity. She was certainly the former, and she may have been the latter (she certainly tried), but she was much more than these things. My concept of Gardner has been considerably expanded, by a new biography of the star, Ava: A Life in Movies.

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Announcing the FIFTH annual What A Character! Blogathon – Dec. 16-18

 

wac-2016-c
Supporting stalwarts Aline McMahon and Guy Kibbee with an unnamed co-star in GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933
What’s great about being a character actor is you know that you can survive forever. It’s not about the gloss of your eyebrows.
— Martin Short

 

We’re back for a fifth consecutive year to honor the versatility and depth of supporting players with the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. Based on a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the WAC! Blogathon is an event that many look forward to each year. It’s a chance to pay tribute to the Louise Beavers and Eddie Andersons of the movie world — the names that seldom or never appeared above the title. Your enthusiasm for spotlighting the oft-nameless faces that appear in countless beloved movies is admirable, and Aurora, Kellee, and I extend sincere thanks to all of the bloggers who have joined us in the previous four years. We invite you all to help us make the fifth outing extra special. Get all the details after the jump…

Continue reading “Announcing the FIFTH annual What A Character! Blogathon – Dec. 16-18”

31 Days of Oscar: Week 3 — ACTING

We have now arrived at week 3 of the 31 Days of Oscar blogathon, which coincides with Turner Classic Movies’ month-long celebration of the very best in cinema. Co-hosted by me (@Paula_Guthat), Aurora (@CitizenScreen) of Once Upon A Screen, and Kellee (@IrishJayhawk66) of Outspoken & Freckled, the third installment of our Second Annual Oscar extravaganza addresses Acting, arguably the most remembered aspect of any film, particularly Academy Award contenders.

Hepburn Oscar banner

For various reasons, including a successful run of Blue Jasmine at Cinema Detroit, I’ve been thinking more about the Best Actress category this year than any other. Oscar front-runner Cate Blanchett is simply genius in the title role. Many people have mentioned to us that her acting (and to a lesser extent, that of the rest of the cast) are the reason they like or even love this unexpectedly downbeat movie. (Sally Hawkins is, of course, excellent. But Andrew Dice Clay? Really? Really. He’s actually good in it.) And I have agree, and also add that I think this is because Blanchett makes Jasmine seem like a real — albeit self-absorbed and delusional — person. I’m pretty sure Blanchett will win, she just earned a BAFTA, but the other contenders are Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep, so I guess it’s not a done deal. Be that as it may, I believe that Blanchett, assisted by the rest of Jasmine‘s acting troupe, is what kept people coming into the theater seven months after the film’s premiere.

And now, without further ado, here are this week’s posts:

Pam at Once Upon A Screen — The Golden Age of Hollywood Revisited: Henry Fonda Finally Wins An Oscar

The Gal Herself — In Praise of Practical Magic: Julie Andrews

Emily of The Vintage Cameo — Actors Playing Actors

Margaret of The Great Katharine Hepburn — Katharine Hepburn’s One and Only Academy Awards Appearance

Rich of Wide Screen World — Oscar Trading Cards: Actor Assortment

Karen of Shadows and Satin — Van Heflin in Johnny Eager (1941)

ImagineMDD — Hume Cronyn: One Life, a Boatload of Characters

Lê of Crítica Retrô — Best Oscar Acceptance Speeches

Kelly of …On Popcorn and Movies — The Origins of Smolder…Gary Cooper and a little bit about Pitt

Ivan of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear — Stuart Whitman in The Mark (1961)

Shane of Classic Film Haven — The Amazing Stories of Harold Russell and Haing S. Ngor

Aurora of Once Upon A Screen — Spencer Tracy: Oscar and the Actor’s Actor


More of the Second Annual 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon:

Week 1 – SNUBS posts are here.
Week 2 – Music, Costumes, Cinematography, Writing, etc. posts are here.
Week 4 – The Directors posts are here.

Hear Paula on WDET’s Craig Fahle Show, Mon. 10/21

As some of you may know, Tim and I have found a permanent space to show movies. I’ll be talking about this and our upcoming events and screenings tomorrow on the radio. Yikes! UPDATE: The radio show’s podcast is here, my segment is about 2/3 of the way through. Thanks to everyone for their support…it is so very appreciated.

Cinema Detroit

Craig FahleI’m super-psyched to be on WDET’s Craig Fahle Show, tomorrow, Monday October 21, at 11:30 a.m. with Connie Mangilin of the Mitten Movie Project, to talk about Cinema Detroit, MMP Detroit Night, and the Burton Theatre. Except in the case of breaking news. For those in the metro Detroit area, WDET is at 101.9 FM. Outside of the broadcast area, you can listen online. Wish me luck!

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2011 Year-End List

How is that for a generic blog post title? The thing is, I’m pretty sure there are a lot of year-end “Best and Worst Lists” out there that I completely agree with, and chances are, you’ve probably already read those. So here is a little bit quirkier, non-standard list.

  1. Film that unintentionally emphasizes the importance of hand sanitizer Shame
  2. Movies I liked that prove I’m not too picky The Three Musketeers (2011). Cowboys and Aliens
  3. Sequel that prompted me to check out the first installment in the series Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  4. 2011 movies I’ve haven’t seen yet but want to Moneyball. Young Adult. Drive. The Ides of March. Warrior. Melancholia. 50/50. The Guard
  5. 2011 movies I’m dying to see but couldn’t until 2012 (and still haven’t) A Dangerous Method. Haywire. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The Artist. The Mill and The Cross.
  6. Possibly the hugest disappointment The Green Hornet. I still don’t know what happened there.
  7. My most anticipated movies of 2012 Wettest County (It’s about Prohibition. Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain are in it, and the screenplay is by Nick Cave. I’ll be there.) The Dark Knight Rises. The Hobbit. The Woman in Black (if I can handle it). John Carter.
  8. Movie in which I totally identified with the main character to the point that people in theatre were staring as I laughed and cried my way through it Bridesmaids
  9. First Woody Allen movie I’ve really, really liked in years Midnight in Paris
  10. Extraordinarily gorgeous movie I saw three times in the theatre Jane Eyre (2011)

So…what are some of your quirkier likes and dislikes of 2011?