Monday, July 15, 2019

Episode 6 of "Big Little Lies"

Only one left. The latest episode essentially revolved around the unfolding custody battle between Celeste and Mary Louise. I have to admit, I was pretty uncomfortable for much of the episode. The entire time Celeste was on the stand was a wrenching display of victim and slut-shaming, and Nicole Kidman's negotiation of those emotions and her reactions to the dick lawyer were painfully wonderful. I suspect that I'm not alone in the ever-increasing contempt I have for Meryl's character. Her smug looks and shameless exploitation of an abused woman (the mother of her grandchildren, by the way) just make me want to walk up to her and say something nasty. Jane had the same feeling, apparently, as she showed up at Mary Louise's door and basically hollered, "Call this off you crazy bitch."



I thought Zoë Kravitz did a nice job in the scene where she tells her presumably sleeping mother that she killed Perry. I'm not a big fan of the storyline with her mom, but it helps give some background on why she pushed him and why she's struggled so much with the aftermath. I'm totally bored with Madeline and Ed's marital woes. They're having the same conversation nine different ways and they're both just getting annoying. Either break up or have a crazy makeup fuck, already. And poor Renata takes another hit from her slimeball husband, who evidently forgot to mention that in addition to squandering their fortune, he was sleeping with the nanny.

Next week of course is the season (and likely series) finale, and we'll get to see Celeste scrutinize Mary Louise's fitness for custody, as she interrogates her mother-in-law on the stand. It's going to be TV gold, and hopefully it gives Meryl an opportunity to shine, as well as provide the viewers with a few more answers as to why she is the way that she is.

Six weeks has flown by!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Positive reactions to test screenings of "Little Women"

My go-to for film news, Awards Watch, has been buzzing today with news that there have a been a couple of screenings of Greta Gerwig's upcoming adaptation of Little Women. Meryl of course has a small role in the film as Aunt March. Most recently on Monday, the film was screened in Los Angeles to favorable reactions. I found a blog called World of Reel that evidently has access to those reactions (whether they're from Twitter users or whatever, but we'll assume the people actually saw the movie).

Big takeaways for me were that Saoirse Ronan is great (shocking), Florence Pugh is best in show at Amy, and Timothée Chalamet is good, but possibly a little too modern-seeming. No word on Meryl, but again, she's got a bit part. Gerwig's direction is praised, as well as the score by frequent Oscar contender Alexandre Desplat. There are rumors that Emma Watson is the weak link, with some even going so far as to say that some of Laura Dern's scenes were cut because they were mostly with Watson. That could be hyperbole, however, and time will tell as always.

Little Women opens Christmas Day.

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Eliza Scanlen

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Episode 5 of "Big Little Lies"

Ugh, I hate cliffhangers. Let's just start with that last scene. Bonnie's really struggling and we see her at the end approaching the police station. Then out comes Corey, the guy Jane is seeing, and they lock eyes. The way Corey was leaving the station, I got the impression that he was being interrogated, but he could also be undercover?

It didn't really seem like all that much happened in this episode, but it was more of a setting up week for the big drama to finally unfold. Celeste and Mary Louise are in the thick of the custody battle now, and it's looking more like grandma might have a chance at partial custody. This was probably the least screen time Meryl had in any of the episodes. I was wishing to have a better back and forth in her scene with Laura Dern (Renata), but it just turned out being Mary Louise interrupting with snide comments about Renata's lack of furniture. I hope there's another layer that Meryl is yet to show in the last two episodes.

Shailene Woodley continues to impress. Her scene with Corey where she breaks down was pretty touching, and it will make it all the more powerful if it turns out the Corey is somehow a plant for the police. And what the hell was with the scene at the bar with Ed and Tori? Are she and Joseph trying to have a threeway? Or is it just some weird revenge thing that Tori wants because Madeline slept with her husband? 

Several unanswered questions in this episode, and although I think it was my least favorite, it's the most excited I've been to see the next one, because I want some answers!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Episode 4 of "Big Little Lies"

SLAP!

Nicole Kidman's left hand may be the MVP of episode four. Within the first ten minutes, Meryl's character, Mary Louise, shows up unannounced to a pumpkin-carving party and says some things that would make even Mother Teresa want to take a whack. Mary Louise continues to try to infiltrate the lives of both her daughter-in-law (Celeste) and her newly-discovered grandson (Ziggy), by renting an apartment in the same building as Ziggy's mother, Jane. Bonnie is worried that Mary Louise suspects her in Perry's death (based on a "look") and Renata and Madeline continue their seemingly losing battle within their marriages. 



"Foreplay?" What a bitch. That was a pretty quick synopsis, but the thrust of tonight's episode involves Mary Louise's machinations to secure custody of her grandchildren. Following Celeste's car accident, the discovery of multiple prescription pill bottles, the slap, and ultimately walking in on Celeste in a post-coital Ambien hangover, Mary Louise is ripe to strike. Although we realize Streep's character is a total opportunistic loon, it's difficult to disagree with her concerns for the boys when considering it from the perspective of the other characters. Her brief scene with Shailene Woodley (Jane) was again packed with a lot of dramatic punch. 

Meryl had a lot of screen time this episode. I'm still expecting her to go supporting for Emmy consideration, but at this point, I don't think it would be out of the realm of possibility to see her fielded in lead. Could that be a thing? Imagine Reese Witherspoon, Kidman and Streep all nominated in lead and Dern, Woodley and maybe Kravitz nommed in supporting.

I'm enjoying every minute of season two. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Streep to star in Ryan Murphy's "Prom"

It seemed like only a matter of time before Meryl and Ryan Murphy were able to join forces for a project. Looks like that's about to happen, as Deadline is reporting that Murphy will be producing and directing a feature film adaptation for Netflix of the Tony-nominated musical, The Prom, to be retitled simply, Prom. Streep would play the lead Dee Dee Allen and is to be joined by James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Ariana Grande, Awkwafina, and Keegan-Michael Key.

The synopsis as described by Deadline reads:

~In Prom, Streep will play Dee Dee Allen, a two-time Tony winner who teams with Corden’s Barry Glickman in a flop musical about Eleanor Roosevelt. After career-ending reviews, they decide — along with Broadway babies Kidman as Angie Dickinson and Rannells (Book of Mormon) as Trent Oliver — to champion a cause to rehabilitate their careers. They find one in Emma, a high school senior in Indiana who isn’t allowed to take her girlfriend to the prom. A nationwide search led by casting director Alexa Fogel is on to fill the role of Emma.~

This could be good! I have to admit that I had never heard of this musical. It apparently just opened last fall but was nominated for like seven Tony Awards. Streep's role will definitely be a lead performance. The cast, as expected in any Murphy project, is diverse, and this may be the first time Meryl's love interest is a person of color (Key)?

More details are sure to come in the near future, but filming is expected to get underway this December for a late 2020 release. 

Love new project announcements!

Streep, Kidman, & Murphy

Monday, June 24, 2019

Episode 3 of "Big Little Lies"

Well, the drama continues. Tensions are running high in Monterey and few people are happy. Mary Louise is being her creepy self and going as far as to show up at Jane's (Shailene Woodley) place of work to ask about her "encounter" with her son. A paternity test?! "Take a hike, bitch!" is what I'd probably say if I were in Jane's shoes. Mary Louise's behavior is classic victim blaming, and Meryl is making it very difficult to feel sympathetic for her. But I have to say her character is showcasing an interesting history of what kind of home Perry may have grown up in.

I think the show is doing a good job of showing how moving on from an abusive relationship isn't as easy is it may seem. Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is struggling with missing Perry, and with the help of her therapist trying to get past the feelings of emptiness she has now that her husband is dead...even if he used to beat the shit out of her. Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Ed (Adam Scott) even get into the therapy act, after Madeline had revealed her infidelity to him last episode.

With all the grieving going on, it can get a little heavy-handed. But thanks to the spectacular Laura Dern, we're getting a bit of comic relief with how over-the-top ridiculous Renata is. From insisting her daughter be transferred to Stanford hospital for an anxiety attack, to calling someone a "pussfuck," there were several times I laughed out loud at how derailed she lets herself get. And that alligator blazer! She was my favorite this week (aside from Meryl every week. of course).



Hard to believe that after next week the season will already be more than half over!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The big 7-0

Happy birthday to our favorite! Today is a milestone for an iconic woman, who, through the sheer force of her talent, has almost single-handedly rewritten what it means to be an actress in Hollywood over the age of 40. Even twenty years ago, it seemed almost impossible that someone in her demographic could consistently be afforded the opportunity to turn out amazing performance after amazing performance. Thankfully, it's not just Meryl anymore. Ever increasingly, we are seeing women of all ages portrayed in complex roles, especially with the television renaissance of the past decade. It's fitting that as Meryl turns 70 this weekend, she's currently showcased in one of the most popular television series of the past five years, receiving some of the best reviews she has this century.

Is it wrong to think that 70 is still young? When it comes to Meryl's screen work, I hope not.

Here's to another 30 years of wowing us (I'll maybe be OK if she wants to retire at 100)!