Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: Reel Life: Pliéing Turkey

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  • recordari, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    I really must go see this movie so I can join in this discussion proper like. Although I feel I know too much.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Tim Michie,

    So if not Portman, who would pick Craig?:

    I'd vote for Jennifer Lawrence, but wouldn't bet the farm on Oscar voters being that tasteful. (BTW, here's a fun-fact and some homework. Winter's Bone is based on an excellent novel by Daniel Woodrell , whose second novel Woe to Live On was adapted into Ang Lee's criminally under-rated Ride with the Devil.)

    The only other nominated performance I've seen is Benning's which was typically solid work from a much under-rated actress who doesn't work enough. But The Kids are All Right was... alright. It's one of those charming but slight films I'd happily sit down to watch on television (which is not damnation with faint praise), but Benning, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo weren't exactly being stretched.

    But I've digressed a long way.

    I'm still rage-y that True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld wasn't even submitted for best actress -- no disrespect to Jeff Bridges or Matt Damon (both doing fine work) but she just owns a very welcome return to form for Los Bros Coen. I'm currently polishing up a review - and trying not to make it sound like a Humbert Humbert-y mash note on a fourteen-year-old girl. :) But it's safe to say I'm a fan, and if they hadn't cast an actress who could nail Mattie Ross to the floor as firmly as Steinfeld does I just don't think the film would have worked.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11908 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    going to any of the French Film Festival films?

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    Not unless someone is going to throw a bushel of comps at my head - still learning the fine art of getting my name on all the best press lists. :) Still, that's another item to add to the next Linky Love post.

    Of course, if you've got any picks or pans to bestow, don't let me stop you.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11908 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    True Grit

    Just saw it last night agree entirely. Perhaps the Academy blinded by Bridges, Brolin and Damon (who I thought particularly disappeared into the role).

    Linky Love too for the Documentary Edge Festival officially beginning today...

    (Apologies for bare comprehensibility in my earlier).

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 554 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    not sure what the story is with comps,.

    I'll probably try and see Outside the Law since I liked Indigènes.

    Turk's Head

    and Gondry's The Thorn in the Heart

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    My wife saw 'Black Swan', and loved it (she is also a fan of 'The Red Shoes'). She also though the CGI was well used.

    I'm currently polishing up a review [of True Grit]

    I'll look forward to that. More my cup of rotgut.

    Are you going to be reviewing 'Never let me go' at some point?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Are you going to be reviewing ‘Never let me go’ at some point?

    Would love to -- but I'll be damned if I've heard anything about a release date, even straight to DVD. (Which wouldn't surprise me, considering that the reviews in the US and UK have been lukewarm and even by arthouse standards the box office was dreadful.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11908 posts Report Reply

  • sally jones,

    Displaced older dancer Beth (Wynona Ryder) begs to differ - just before she throws herself in front of a cab as highly strung ballerinas gone the way of expired yoghurt are prone to do.

    My next move. How did you guess???

    anyone who has the time and energy to read Jennifer Homans' weighty but fascinating Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet

    Might I suggest as well Gelsey Kirkland's autobiographical Dancing on my Grave which is not unlike Black Swan in its depiction of Kirkland's own descent into drug abuse and 'madness' as her career faded, having been worshipped as one of the most brilliant ballet dancers of her time. A film of her life would be worth making and probably have more resonance and less gratuity than BS.
    For the record - before I contemplate my own grim options - I enjoyed the film overall but felt the lesbian porn fantasy scene was thrown in for the chaps and also as a clumsy attempt to say, if you need to have - and enjoy - sex, preferably lots of it, to get in touch with the role of the devious Black Swan, it doesn't necessarily have to be sex with a bloke. Indeed you can let your imagination - and fingers - do the work, which is what we're supposed to believe was Nina's approach, with a bit of drug and booze inducement thrown into the bargain. The assumption that sex is the gateway to female development and fulfilment as artists, or simply as females, is deeply dubious - obviously. I enjoyed the film in spite of this and laughed quite a bit (to myself) when the chap in charge advised Nina to masturbate to get into the role; a) because it was funny and b) because the exact thing was suggested to me - in not too dissimilar circumstances.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    @ Sally. Crikey--I think we need the film of your life. I do agree that the proposition that a little rub-a-dub puts you in touch with your 'dark side' rather adolescent.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2305 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to sally jones,

    Might I suggest as well Gelsey Kirkland’s autobiographical Dancing on my Grave which is not unlike Black Swan in its depiction of Kirkland’s own descent into drug abuse and ‘madness’ as her career faded, having been worshipped as one of the most brilliant ballet dancers of her time.

    Oh, Muses, yes. And I don't think she's the only person who could acknowledge that George Balanchine is rightly revered as a great figure of 20th century dance, but in so many ways a deeply unpleasant man.

    I'd warmly recommend the 2005 documentary Ballets Russes. It's basically archival footage and a lot of elderly but astoundingly candid talking heads, but what stories they've got to tell.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11908 posts Report Reply

  • sally jones, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Thanks for that video Craig - she said, tears streaming down her soppy sentimental face, having watched it three times. Christ how I miss it some times.

    And cheers Geoff. A film about my life you say? Well if others think that's a good idea, who am I to disagree ;)

    Another dance film recommended to me is La Danse. It's a documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet and has subtitles - for those who don't speak French - but the NYTimes proclaims it "one of the finest dance films ever made." Not saying that much necessarily, given how few have been made. But I trust the recommendation and certainly intend to see it asap.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2010 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to sally jones,

    Another dance film recommended to me is La Danse. It’s a documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet and has subtitles

    Damn, I was kicking myself for missing this at the festival last year (and it would make an interesting double bill with his 1995 film about the American Ballet Theatre) because I love Frederick Wiseman. Even though he hates the term, he’s a master of the “observational” cinéma vérité style of documentary film-making. His refusal to impose narrative or an editorial line on his work can be really challenging, but if you go with it, his films aren’t only insightful but curiously moving.

    ETA: La Danse will be available on DVD from Madman Entertainment April 4.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11908 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Thanks Craig, I had a feeling this was "overhyped." I will avoid.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I'll be damned if I've heard anything about a release date, even straight to DVD

    Coulda sworn it was going to be released here, but I must've been reading too much overseas media again. Lousy internet's got a lot to answer for.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Trailers for Never Let Me Go have been running for a couple of months in cinemas. Rialto is talking about a March 17 release date:

    http://www.rialto.co.nz/vistait/village/Default.aspx?Control=ComingSoon

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to philipmatthews,

    Trailers for Never Let Me Go have been running for a couple of months in cinemas. Rialto is talking about a March 17 release date:

    Thanks, Philip. I hope it will be screening elsewhere, because I no desire to set foot in Rialto Newmarket unless I'm being paid to do so. When a screening starts fifteen minutes late, and the first half hour is out of focus, the last response I expect from the staff is "What do you expect me to do about it?"

    "Go fuck yourself, as soon as you've refunded the tickets of me and my party" is what I should have said. But there's a less confrontational but still satisfying come back in a highly competitive marketplace; taking your patronage elsewhere.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11908 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    When a screening starts fifteen minutes late, and the first half hour is out of focus

    This reminds me of something, the bitching about which slipped my mind. Can't think how that happened. Went to see The King's Speech at Hoyts Moorhouse. Loved it, kept thinking how much my mother would have loved it, heard ALL of The Green Lantern through the wall from the theatre next door.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4354 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Emma Hart,

    heard ALL of The Green Lantern through the wall from the theatre next door.

    And they didn't make you pay extra? You lucky thing.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7357 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Ironically enough, Moira Shearer – who was a professional dancer not an actress – gives a better performance than Portman in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s delirious melodrama The Red Shoes (1948), which was one of the highlights of last year’s film festival. Like Nina, Vicky Page literally dies for her art. But unlike Aronofsky, Powell and Pressburger give their lushly over-produced, stratospherically high camp tragedy of the conflict between art and life a heart and mind. I could believe that Vicky Page would sacrifice her marriage for the claustrophobic world of the Ballet Lermontov and Anton Walbrook’s equally obsessive impresario. Boris Lermentov doesn’t need to need his hands between anyone’s legs or talk dirty; his seduction begins in a much more dangerous place.

    Yes, and as many have pointed out before the thematic parallels between The Red Shoes and the more, sinister and ahem, graphic Peeping Tom are rather frightful. I think the Red Shoes succeeds as both an experience and a melodrama because of its willingness to go as out there as possible, while still keeping its feet on the ground (no pun intended). The depiction of the backstage mechanations has a curious intimacy to it, and more to the point, Moira Shearer’s dancing is so good that you genuinely believe her when she choses art over life.

    If the characters seem outsized well, that’s because their art is outsized. Of course, the visuals have a lot to do with it too- I’ve never seen such concentrated reds on screen, it’s almost unflinchingly lurid at times.

    I’ve often wondered whether there was something about the best melodramas of the 1940s that we’ll never be able to capture again: the way they push and push against the codes while making sure just enough is oppressed to get past the sensors. Not that there’s anything explicit in the Red Shoes, but all the suggestions are there, obviously. It’s some kind of perfect, that film: a proper fairytale as Hans Christian Anderson originally told them.

    I haven’t seen Black Swan, although I intend to, if only to see how much my experience tallies with Craig’s.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My sister, trained in film studies, women's studies, and contemporary dance shared your views on this film, Craig. It wasn't about the dancing, and it wasn't really about dancers. It was trying to mimic European film, but without the subtlety, themes were too obvious and too gratuitous.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8450 posts Report Reply

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