Monday, April 21, 2008

FACES I LOVE #10: THE LADIES ROOM


And now the women...


Karen Allen


Rachel McAdams


Margo Martindale


Tina Fey


Patsy Kelly


Viola Davis


Edwige Fenech (1970)


Edwige Fenech (2007)


Maggie Q


Deborah Kerr


Alexandra Maria Lara


Michelle Williams

53 comments:

bill said...

Boy, Edwige Fenech sure is lovely, isn't she?

And Margo Martindale is one of the most underrated actresses out there. It made my heart sink to see her in some stupid commercial recently. Plus, she looks alarmingly like a friend of mine.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Margo Martindale doesn't exactly look like someone I know, but she sure seems like someone I know-- every time I see her I feel like I've known her for years, and that always makes me kinda happy. Yet another actress who continually ends up in roles that can't come near her talents. IMDb says she's got what looks like perhaps a plum recurring role in that FX cable series The Riches with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver, and I'm pleased to see she appears in three episodes of my new fave Dexter, which I discovered through the joys of Netflix Instant Play. Sure better than the 15-second dialogue-free cameo I glimpsed her in while watching Days of Thunder the other night!

And yes, I'd have to agree with your point of view re Ms. Fenech, then and now.

bill said...

Have you ever seen the film "Eye of God"? Martindale gives a great, heart-breaking performance in that film, and I believe seeing it was the first time I realized how good she is. That film also gave great roles to Richard Jenkins and Hal Holbrook.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I have not, but I remember hearing about it when it (briefly) played in theaters. And with a cast like that, it'd have to be worth checking out. It's on my Netflix queue now.

Paul C. said...

It sort of gives me pause to think that Karen Allen is almost as old as my mother, and Edwige Fenech is even older. But I guess when you're an actress you sort of need to take care of yourself.

As for Martindale, it's sort of unfortunate that one of her highest-profile roles found her playing a one-dimensional welfare queen in Million Dollar Baby. She's so much better when a director actually uses her for good, like in the Alexander Payne segment of last year's Paris, je t'aime.

And good job including Alexandra Maria Lara. She first caught my eye in Downfall, and subsequent work in Control and Youth Without Youth have proven that she's star material. I'm guessing her role in Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna (coming this fall) will raise her profile quite a bit. At least, I hope so.

bill said...

Paul, I agree with you about her role in "Million Dollar Baby". Ergh!! But I don't blame her for it at all. She played the part as well as it could be played, I think.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah. I loved Million Dollar Baby, but I have a problem with the part of Hilary Swank's mother as conceived in the script and realized in the film. It's just too easy, too broad, despite the fact that I've certainly known some people (even in my own extended family) whose resemblance to that character is too close for comfort. But the fault there lies with Haggis and Eastwood, not with Margo Martindale.

bill said...

This is slightly off-topic, but, regarding "Million Dollar Baby", I actually do like the movie, I just have too many problems with it to hold it in as high regard as some people. But, for instance, I think Swank is fantastic in it, which brings up the reason for this off-topic comment: is it just me, or is Hilary Swank only really good in movies for which she wins Oscars?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Going further still, Swank only seems to get serious attention when she defeminizes herself. She's got a kind of gawky, androgynous look to begin with which really functions well for her in these parts. (I liked her as the desexualized science geek pilot in The Core too.) But when she goes for sex appeal, like in The Black Dahlia, the result is way off the mark. For me, she had the opposite effect in that movie that she did in her first Oscar-winning role-- in De Palma's picture, she almost seemed like a man dressing up like a woman, sporting a man's exaggerated notions of what men might find appealing in a femme fatale. Very strange.

bill said...

I've some photographs of Swank where she's looked quite feminine -- I think she's actually quite curvaceous -- but I get your point. When she's onscreen, she doesn't really radiate heat. I actually thought she would pull it off in "The Black Dahlia", because I do think that maybe it's in her somewhere (again, thinking of certain photographs I've seen), but no. Not that time, anyway. (And really, Brian De Palma, you've alread cast Scarlett Johannson in your movie...didn't a bell go off that maybe the actresses should swap roles, or something?)

She's an odd case: a two-time Oscar winner who has, by my count, given only two great performances (although I really like "The Core", as well).

Jonathan Lapper said...

I had no idea there was a comment party going on over here. And Dennis is actually taking part. Of course now that I'm here no one will comment again, only contributing further to my mind-numbing despondancy and inferiority complex.

That said, I think Hillary Swank can be sexy in a tough girl Joan Jett kind of a way but if you want to make her sexy in the Black Dahlia kind of a way it's just not going to work.

And I think she's a good actress period, she just hasn't had any good roles, in my opinion, outside of her Oscar winning ones. For instance, she wasn't bad in Insomnia but the role is so dull and thankless that, really, they could have cast a Disney Animatronic President in the role and it wouldn't have made any difference. In fact, the only thing that would have saved that borefest of a movie for me would have been if in the opening five minutes someone had killed Robin Williams character by repeatedly stomping on his head. That might have worked. Although I just looked it up and it's got a 7.2 on IMDB so maybe I'm in the minority on this one.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I rather liked Insomnia, although I have yet to see the original version. Swank's part was a wash in it, though. (Wasn't that the first thing that came out after she won her first Oscar?) And I'd have to agree to that I think she's a good actress, just not exceptionally well used up till now. And how many good actresses can we think of that might have that said about them?

As for Williams, for me the stomping should have started and ended with Patch Adams...

bill said...

...chirrup...chirrup...
...chirrup...chirrup...
...chirrup...chirrup...

-- tumbelweed rolls by --

.
.
.
.
.
Ah, I'm just jerkin' yer chain, Jonathan! I'm still here!

I actually really liked "Insomnia", but Swank's role and performance are both fuzzy to me (I believe she played a "police officer" of some sort) but you're probably right that she simply hasn't gotten many good roles. That would certainly explain what otherwise seems to me to be her anomaly of a career. But why HASN'T she been offered better roles?? She has two Oscars, for freak's sake! Ordinarily, whether or not the movies are any good, that would open up a few doors and lead to more substantial gigs. I suppose "The Black Dahlia" would count, but apart from that, what has there been?

Jonathan Lapper said...

Yeah, I keep trying to get people to agree with me on Insomnia only to be rebuffed. I'll have to see it again. I saw it once, when it came out, and was so underwhelmed that I just remember after the first reel wanting it to end. It was not because it was awful in execution, just a movie that tapped into a profound lack of disinterest on my part from the get-go. There are certain movies that do that to each of us and for me Insomnia is one.

But another factor is my intense dislike of Robin Williams. He makes my skin crawl as an actor and I have a general distaste for anything he's in. Combine him with Ben Affleck and an Affleck/Damon penned screenplay and you've got something that still has the power to awaken me in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Not that I'm necessarily suggesting that Insomnia should be one of these for you, but this puts in mind of a list I've been making recently of movies I disliked before that I have reason to suspect might be worth revisiting. I'm thinking of throwing the question open on the next quiz, which is coming up shortly. I think of it too because I recently had a good experience in revisiting Days of Thunder at Larry's suggestion.

bill said...

I ordinarily loathe Robin Williams, too. When I see him on talk shows, doing his voices, and being "funny", and I see everyone around him simply convulsed in laughter, I feel a strong urge to destroy. BUT, he's not bad in darker roles. The RIGHT darker roles. I think he's good in "Insomnia" and "One Hour Photo".

Back to Swank, I just looked her up on IMDB, and see that she's currently filming an Amelia Earhart biopic (good casting, I must say), which is being directed by Mira Nair(!). That could be her third Oscar, or a total, bewildering disaster. I don't know why, but my instincts tell me it's going to be the latter. Actually, maybe I do know why: Formulaic, Hollywood feminism crammed into a standard-issue biopic, made by a director who, I fear, will try to inappropriately squeeze in some of her big, bright, fantastic style. But that's just me.

As for Affleck: seriously, Jonathan, see "Gone Baby Gone". Seriously.

bill said...

Dennis - would you revisit "The Life Aquatic" based solely on the fact that I urge you to do so, or would I need to make a case for it? Because I'll do it!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Bill, that's a big 10-4 on The Life Aquatic and Gone Baby Gone. Affleck's movie was a devastating and extremely sensitively directed one, in the land of big scenes and surprisingly nuanced characterizations both. And Anderson's is one of the movies that inspired me to make my list in the first place. Those are exactly the kinds of movies I'm thinking of-- ones that many were passionate about that inspired a big disconnect from me.

Swank as Amelia Earhart, eh? It would be nice if your suspicions didn't come true. But it's just the kind of project into which filmmakers love to wedge anachronistically modern attitudes in order to ostensibly make the subject more palatable to modern audiences. I remain open, but wary.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Bill - I have Gone Baby Gone at home (I got it weeks ago) but I still haven't gotten around to watching it. I don't doubt Ben Affleck does a good job directing it from everything I've read, I just can't stand him as an actor, or should I say, "actor."

And I will never revisit Good Will Hunting no matter what the incentive (unless it's like a million bucks or something because then, sure yeah, what the hell). But really, outside of a large monetary award, I can never see GWH again and it will be soon enough.

And Swank as Earhart is perfect casting. Who's playing Fred?

bill said...

Dennis - Oh, I'm so glad you liked "Gone Baby Gone" as much as I did. Have you written about it? I'll have to look that up. Anyway, what a terrific movie. 99 times out of 100, if a film's last shot is one of its major standout moments, the director has made a hell of a movie, and that's the case here. It's a haunting, painful, exciting movie that pretty much completely blind-sided me. What's sort of strange is, as a fan of Dennis Lehane, I was VERY disappointed in Eastwood's "Mystic River", a book I absolutely love. And I was VERY disappointed in the novel "Gone Baby Gone". But the film...well, the Affleck brothers proved themselves by the bucketful.

So, are you going to be seeing "The Life Aquatic" any time soon? Because I'm going to keep bugging you until you do. Oh, and finish reading "Flicker".

I'm trying to think of similar films I should rewatch, with the same purpose in mind. Don't say "Dazed and Confused", because that one's too fresh for me.

Jonathan - I had to look up Fred Earhart. That reference is so obscure that I have to assume you only made it so that I might learn something.

bill said...

Oh, and PS - regarding Ben Affleck the Actor, he's pretty good in "Hollywoodland".

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Bill: With my current degraded (but slowly improving) eyesight, a blurry movie image is much easier to negotiate than the pages of a book, which is why I've given Flicker a break (I'm up to chapter 10, though!), and which is also why studying for this month's class is a bit more a bear than usual. But I promise to keep going!

And no, I haven't written anything about Gone Baby Gone, but it may be time. I've been feeling the pull to see it again. I don't know the Lehane novels, but while I liked the film of Mystic River, I found it more mannered (especially in that awkward conceit involving Bacon and his silent wife) than it needed to be. Eastwood does much better, as I think we'd agree, with more naturalistic behavior and cinematic style than heightened elements like this one, or the mean streak of caricature we discussed earlier than momentarily hobbles MDB.

bill said...

I know a couple of people who had the same eye problems you're having (I somehow escaped it), and they're both good now. I know you have a good attitude about this whole business, but I figured I'd throw that out there anyway.

bill said...

Oops, posted too soon. Anyway, the "silent wife" thing from "Mystic River" is in the book, too, but Lehane pulls it off. Eastwood doesn't. I'm not sure you can make that work in a movie. Frankly, it shouldn't have worked in the book, but it did.

"Mystic River" should never have had that heightened style that you refer to. Ben Affleck nailed the style "Mystic River" needed with "Gone Baby Gone". The fact that he's a Boston native no doubt helped.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Thanks, man. I appreciate your input and your support. I'll e-mail you sometime soon and we can commiserate.
I will say that, ironically enough, over the last week and a half I've felt better than I have in well over a year. So you takes your blessings however you gets 'em, I guess!

Jonathan Lapper said...

Bill - I wasn't trying to be obscure, I was referring to Fred Noonan, Amelia's navigator and rumored love partner outside of her marriage, who went down with her (or died in the same way she did, however that was).

Anyway, I went to IMDB and outside of Swank as Earhart they don't have anyone listed as Noonan, although Richard Gere is listed as one of the actors so maybe he's playing Noonan.

bill said...

Dennis - I look forward to the e-mail, and I know what you mean: in some ways -- maybe even in a lot of ways -- I'm healthier now than I was before. However, I AM now a hypochondriac.

Jonathan - Well, Fred Earhart was the mayor of New Orleans for one day: July 15, 1936. So there you go.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Did you hear the one about the Hypochondriac's Convention?

Nobody showed up. They all called out sick.

Buddabing!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Now's the time for those crickets, Jonathan! :)

bill said...

In my case, I would call out because some mild, vague discomfort has convinced me that I'm dying.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

Now let's talk about one of your other pictures up, Tina Fey. Didn't she recently say something to the effect that The Daily Show isn't funny?

bill said...

Did she? Well, I don't watch "The Daily Show" all that much anymore, but when I do, I have to say, I tend to agree. Political differences aside, in the good old days, "The Daily Show" didn't listen to their own press; now Stewart and his writers seem to care more about their comedy being Important, rather than Funny. Also, does anyone laugh at their own jokes more often than John Stewart?

bill said...

I don't know if this is the quote you're referring to, but I just found this, from an interview she did for the March issue of "Reader's Digest":

"RD: What pleases you more, applause or laughter?
Fey: Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, "Woo-hoo." It means they sort of approve but didn't really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show."

Exactly. You get the same thing with David Cross's stand-up, and, to a lesser extent (but not that much lesser), Patton Oswalt.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Stewart does laugh at his own jokes a lot, but I still think it's funny. I think Fey accused it of using canned laughter as well but I have to read the whole brouhaha again.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Is that all she said? Wow, it really got blown up on the net but why am I surprised by that?

Jonathan Lapper said...

I meant, "Why am I NOT surprised by that."

bill said...

That does indeed appear to be all she said.

Personally, I'll watch "30 Rock" any day of the week over "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report". God, Colbert used to be so funny. The absurdist stuff he and Steve Carrell used to do on "The Daily Show" was brilliant, as was Colbert's work on "Strangers With Candy". I can't watch him now. And I promise you, I could put the politics aside if I thought he was funny.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I don't get a chance to see The Daily Show or The Colbert Report often, but when I do I usually find them pretty funny-- and I do find it amusing/telling that they seem to be a legitimate source of news for many people, which seems to say a lot-- bad-- about the state of TV news, but also a lot-- good-- about their powers of observation.

That said, if that's the quote you mean, JL, Fey at least offers her own not-exactly-mean-spirited observation from the perspective of one who has not only done (and continues to do) good work herself, but also speaking as someone who has made inroads for her gender in the notoriously male-oriented profession of TV comedy (or at least SNL). And I really don't see much of a problem with what she said-- perhaps it's more of a comment about shows like Stewart's tendency (an unavoidable one, I suppose) to play to the choir.

Also, more to the point of her inclusion in the post, I just really dig her look. I couldn't be more excited to see a smart woman with glasses being held up as worthy of praise for her wit, her talent and the way those specs close the deal! As Ron Burgundy would put it, classy!

bill said...

That's one thing about Tina Fey that I don't...well, it's not that I don't like it, because I'm sure that from here point of view it's sincerely meant, BUT there's kind of a running joke on "30 Rock" about how drab/ordinary she looks. This bugs me only because she's obviously so very, very attractive.

And maybe I'm taking those jokes too literally. They could be deeper. In one episode, Jane Krakowski (for those who don't watch the show, she's blonde, and plays one of the stars of the show-within-a-show) and Tina Fey are talking about their past, and Fey makes some mention of her own failed dreams of being an actor. Krakowski says, "Oh, you couldn't have been that serious about being an actor. You have brown hair."

bill said...

And Dennis, why do you think it says anything good about the powers of observation of the staff of "The Daily Show" because a lot of people get their news from them? All it says to me is that that part of their audience is lazy.

Just as a PS, so that I don't think of myself as a hypocrite, I could do better on that front myself.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

To a degree I think what you're saying is clearly true-- that (some) people would rather be entertained, or have their news presented in an entertaining way, than showing up to drink at the trough of the old model news sources which, if ABC's recent disaster with the presidential debate is any indication, is becoming severely hobbled. What I think it says good about The Daily Show is that they've recognized this and taken more time and creativity to engage people with real issues and people, in a satirically barbed and biased manner,in such a way as to take advantage of the opportunity to keep the audience they have informed. It's kind of an ass-backward way of going about it, I guess, but in many ways this is an ass-backward world.

bill said...

You may be right about that, Dennis. Again, all political differences aside, that may be their thinking. But to me the comedy suffers, and it's the comedy that would make me (and used to ACTUALLY make me) tune in to "The Daily Show". I just don't think the comedy comes first with them anymore, and it should.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

And to think you started all this by ogling Edwige Fenech...! :)

bill said...

Not only that, but I've never ceased ogling Edwidge Fenech.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Strangely enough, neither ave I. How's that for a tactic to keep your blood sugar down?!

bill said...

It'll get the blood moving, that's for sure. And then in order to distract yourself from Ms. Fenech, you'll probably have to take a brisk walk, which will also do wonders for you.

Say, is that picture of her as a young lady from anything in particular, or is it just a publicity photo? I'm still a novice in the field of Italian/European horror, and if it IS from a particular movie, well, I...I think I would very much like to see that film.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I couldn't say with any certainty. I'll defer the question to Kimberly of Cinebeats (if she's reading this), who likely will have a very good idea from whence that lovely portrait came.

How 'bout that G.D. Spradlin. huh?

bill said...

He's a fine looking man, no question. You know, I looked him up on IMDB, too. I haven't seen nearly enough of his films. So I guess I'll add that to the list...

Jonathan Lapper said...

GD Spradlin - "You think it's FUNNY!?!"

Scariest coach line ever!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

My beverage frosted over from just my reading that. Some remember him most from Apocalypse Now, but he'll always be Coach B.A. Strothers to me!

Dr. Criddle said...

By gad, Edwige Fenech has certainly aged well! It's a shame she's not in more films these days.

Robert daniel said...

Edwige Fenech is just amazing. She was my favorite giallo leading lady and is still stunningly beautiful. I wish she had more of a cult following here.

cyberion8 said...

Edwige Fenech is unbelievably gorgeous, even at this age !!!