24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Around Town: Max von Sydow plays chess with death again

February 2, 2012 |  6:00 am

Max von Sydow

One of international cinema’s most acclaimed actors, Max von Sydow, who is best known for his iconic work for director Ingmar Bergman, visits the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre on Monday evening.

 The Aero is screening the seminal 1957 Bergman film “The Seventh Seal,” in which Von Sydow stars as a medieval knight playing chess with Death, as well as his latest film, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” Von Sydow, now 82, is nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar as an elderly man who  speaks only via the “Yes” and “No” printed on the palms of his hands.

Film Independent at LACMA presents "An Evening With Gary Oldman" on Friday at the Leo S. Bing Theatre. FIlm Independent curator-historian Elvis Mitchell will lead the conversation with the versatile British actor who has just earned his first Oscar nomination for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." The evening will also feature screenings of 1990's "State of Grace" and 2000's "The Contender." The 5 p.m. screening of "State of Grace" is a free, members-only event for Film Independent, LACMA Film Club, New York Times Film Club and Los Angeles County Museum of Art members. But the conversation with Oldman and "The Contender" screening are open to the public and the regular admission applies.

Also on Monday, Oscar nominees Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill will be in conversation followed by a screening of "Moneyball." It is a free event, but only for members of Film Independent, LACMA Film Club, New York Times Film Club and LACMA members. http://www.filmindependent.org/lacma 

 On Saturday at the Cinematheque’s Egyptian, screenwriter Larry Karaszewski (“Ed Wood”) screens “The Loved One,” the 1965 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s satire of the Southern California funeral business that was directed by Tony Richardson. Karaszewski will have a discussion after the screening with two of the film’s stars, Jonathan Winters and Robert Morse, as well as cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who was also one of the dark comedy’s producers. http://www.americancinematheque.com

 UCLA Film and Television Archive presents the 20th-anniversary screening of Tom Kalin’s “Swoon” on Friday evening at the Billy Wilder Theater. The atmospheric black-and-white drama explores the relationship between Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who caused a sensation in the 1920s when they murdered a child just for the thrill of it. Kalin, actor Craig Chester and scholar B. Ruby Rich will be on hand for a discussion. Also screening is the 1990 short “Jollies” by Sadie Benning. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

 Film Independent at LACMA shines the spotlight on controversial Danish director Lars von Trier on Thursday evening at the Leo S. Bing Theatre with a screening of 1991’s “Zentropa,” a noirish thriller set in post-World War II Germany, and his 1987 version of “Medea,” which was made for Danish TV. http://www.filmindependent.org/lacma

The New Beverly Cinema is getting in the Von Trier act Friday and Saturday with his downbeat 2011 film “Melancholia,” as well as Jeff Nichols’ 2011 indie “Take Shelter,” with Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, another movie with an end-of-the-world vibe.  http://www.newbevcinema.com

“With Her” is a new documentary short by Laurent Morlet that follows Marilyn Monroe’s dedicated fans belonging to the Marilyn Remember club. The film screens Thursday evening at the Egyptian Theatre, followed by a discussion with Morlet and two members of the fan club. Screening is free to all current Cinematheque members.

The Cinematheque continues with its “Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and the Masters of Studio Ghibli” on Thursday evening at the Aero with the rarely screened 1993 tale of adolescence and teenage isolation, “Ocean Waves.” The film is not available in North America on DVD.  Friday at the Egyptian is Miyazaki’s 1997 anime epic “Princess Mononoke.” On tap for Tuesday at the Egyptian is Miyazaki’s 2002 Oscar-winning “Spirited Away.” And Wednesday’s offering at the Aero is 1999’s “My Neighbors the Yamadas,” directed by Isao Takahata.

 Screening Friday at the Aero is the Los Angeles premiere of the 2011 documentary “Splinters,” which follows four surfers in Papua, New Guinea.  Director Adam Pesce and producer Perrin Chiles will be on hand for a post-screening discussion. http://www.americancinematheque.com

 UCLA’s Film and Television Archive’s “Spencer Tracy: That Natural Thing” continues Sunday at the Billy Wilder Theater with two rarities from the actor’s early years at Fox: 1933’s “Shanghai Madness” with Fay Wray, and 1932’s “Painted Woman” with Peggy Shannon.

 Wednesday’s archive double bill at the Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles offers two acclaimed film-noir thrillers: Joseph Lewis’ 1955 production “The Big Combo,” which has been restored by the archive, and Andre de Toth’s “Pitfall” from 1948, starring Dick Powell and Lizabeth Scott. Noir historian Alan K. Rode will be on hand to talk about the films. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu

 LACMA’s Tuesday matinee is Stanley Donen’s 1963 romantic thriller “Charade,” starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Matthau in a bad-guy role. http://www.lacma.org

 The New Beverly Cinema celebrates the career of the burly Irish actor Brendan Gleeson on Thursday evening with a double bill of two of his best recent films: 2011’s “The Guard,” for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, and 2008’s “In Bruges.”

 Two family films from 1987 are scheduled from Sunday through Tuesday: "Harry and the Hendersons” and “*Batteries Not Included,” with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. Joe Carnahan, who directed this past weekend’s No. 1 film “The Grey,” visits the New Beverly on Wednesday with a screening of his 2002 film “Narc” and his 2006 caper “Smokin’ Aces.” http://www.newbevcinema.com

“Music + Image,” a program at REDCAT on Tuesday evening, features video art set to music. The works featured come from screenings and exhibitions at the Long Beach Museum of Art. http://www.redcat.org.

 The Skirball Cultural Center presents the 2007 documentary “A Walk to Beautiful” on Thursday evening. Directed by Kate Grant, who will participate in a question-answer period, the award-winning documentary follows the lives of five Ethiopian women who have been ostracized by their communities because they suffer from fistula after childbirth.

Tuesday’s free matinee is the 1969 drama “Staircase,” starring Rex Harrison and Richard Burton as a gay British couple who work as hairdressers. It was directed by Stanley Donen. http://www.skirball.org

The Seven Dudley Cinema at Beyond Baroque on Thursday evening  presents experimental films by Venice dancer-filmmaker Nathasha Maidoff and works by other experimental moviemakers. http://www.laughtears.com/7dudleycinema.html

 “Cine Love,” a series of romantic French movies, begins Tuesday at the Theatre Raymond Kabbaz in West Los Angeles with “I Do,” a 2006  romp directed by Eric Lartigau and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Alain Chabat. http://www.trk.us.com

 The Hollywood Heritage Museum’s “Evening @ the Barn” on Wednesday evening presents “Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine” with historian Anthony Slide. http://www.hollywoodheritage.org


"Max von Sydow's career speaks volumes"

 -- Susan King


Photo: Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Credit: Francois Duhamel/Warner Bros.

Actor John Goodman does both silent and 'Extremely Loud'

January 30, 2012 |  6:00 am

John Goodman
John Goodman has stolen plenty of scenes with midsize and supporting roles, including memorable turns as the unhinged bowler and Vietnam veteran Walter in “The Big Lebowski,” the everyman father Dan on the TV series “Roseanne” and the lovable blue beast Sulley in the animated film “Monsters Inc.” This year, Goodman pops up in two high-profile Oscar contenders, playing a movie studio boss in the old Hollywood-inspired silent film “The Artist” and a doorman in the 9/11 drama “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”

Goodman spoke to 24 Frames from London, where he is working on the BBC miniseries “Dancing on the Edge,” about his work in two very different films.

You’re in two movies up for best picture at the Academy Awards. That must be gratifying.
Right now it’s cool. It would be cooler if one of them wins. But it’s just nice to be in successful things.

Let’s start with “The Artist.” How different was it acting in a silent film?
It goes back to the old days where you’d put up a scenario and then improvise your dialogue. The only challenge really was improvising with Jean Dujardin, who doesn’t speak any English — or, he didn’t at the time. He’s learning very rapidly. And I done flunked high school French. But we knew what we were talking about, and we listened very closely to each other, which led to a great ensemble feeling. Everybody knew they were doing something that was a little off, a little different, a little special. It created a great camaraderie in the cast. [But] the acting wasn’t really any different. You just look at each other and pay attention and listen.

Are you a big fan of silent movies?
Yeah. The older I get, the more I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into what we do. Watching those guys creating, especially like Buster Keaton, [Charlie] Chaplin, I can’t believe that they did the stuff they do. Incredible skills went into it. What I’m learning to appreciate now is like my character [in “The Artist”] — these were really tough. They wanted to entertain people and wanted to put butts in the seats. To do that, they had to wrestle all kinds of stuff but ultimately have a gut feeling about what looked good up there and what people wanted to see.

What was it like working with director Michel Hazanavicius?
He presented me with a scenario for the movie since they couldn’t show me a screenplay, which was a beautiful printed scenario — it had pictures of old Hollywood movies. The way he presented it to me, I said, “Well this guy really knows his onions and he knows what he wants and he obviously has a passion for it.” So he kind of sold me there. And then we met on Wilshire Boulevard and talked about what he wanted to do, and I was ready to go.

You’re also in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” a very different film in terms of tone, story and setting. Do you see any similarities between the two films?
Well, “The Artist” is a story of loss and redemption, and I guess in a way, “Extremely Loud” is as well.

What was it like working with director Stephen Daldry?
Oh, he was great. He’s story-first. He seemed to me like a theater guy, because he set up a  rehearsal space in Brooklyn and we went over the scenes over and over and over again. I just love that. I really like to rehearse, figure out what I’m doing. I actually only wound up working one day on [the film], and they kept asking me if I still wanted to do it, and I said, “Yeah, I’m in.” The screenplay was very moving when I read it, and I wanted to be a part of it. I’ll follow Stephen Daldry off a roof.

It sounds as though there was a lot of improvisation on “The Artist” and more rehearsal on “Extremely Loud.” Do you have a preferred way of working?
I do whatever they tell me to pretty much, but I do like to rehearse to get it down. To me it pays off because I’m a slow learner. I don’t trust myself to improvise. Thank god the microphones were not on [for “The Artist”]. But the more you do it, you get better and better at it.

They say comedy is one of the hardest things to do in show business. As someone who’s done his fair share, do you find that to be true?
It’s difficult, but I don’t think it’s as hard as people say it is. It’s something you feel. You either got it or you ain’t.

You’ve been to the Academy Awards before. Is there anything you’d add to, subtract from or change about the show?
No [laughs]. The show is what it is. I don’t think they should worry about pleasing people. I think that’s been a fault in the past. They worry about trying to get a new audience or whatever — just relax and be the Oscars.


Oscars 2012: 'The Artist,' 'Extremely Loud' up for best picture

John Goodman on what the actors say in a silent movie [video]

Directors Roundtable: Daldry, Hazanavicius and others talk shop

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: John Goodman as studio boss Al Zimmer in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: