Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Great Performers" and Fine Portraits

I always love the mid February edition of the NY Times Magazine. It tends to capture several Oscar nominees but spreads its net wider, too. One could say it's like a miniature version of Vanity Fair's traditional "Hollywood Issue". It then celebrates the handpicked field of glitterati with portraiture sessions. This year's man behind the lens is the award winning Italian photographer Paolo Pellegrin.


His subjects are almost entirely Oscary this year (shame. I liked the variety) with Kate Winslet as covergirl. Who else? She's in hair rollers for the cover but this photo above is my favorite still from her shoot. I love how bright-morning over lit she is and, it's so... red. The write up by author Tom Perotta (Little Children) is surprisingly interesting too in that, while very flattering, it's not entirely a puff piece. He expresses brief concerns about some career decisions and the way Winslet sometimes overemphasizes her dissimilarity to her unsympathetic characters on the promotional circuit.

Inside the magazine you get Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Frank Langella and Robert Downey Jr. (pictured left with Jude Law on the set of Sherlock Holmes). The sole Off Oscar player for this round is rising star Kat Dennings who is profiled by her 40 Year-Old Virgin mom, Catherine Keener.

The highlight for me? I'm sure you've already guessed it. The entire Penélope Cruz section. It's got wonderful images and a profile by Pedro Almodóvar himself, including this actress-extravagant bit
Cruz belongs to the Mediterranean school of acting, a style that is characterized by its carnality, gutsiness, shamelessness, messy hair, generous cleavage and shouting as a natural form of communication. Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, the early Silvia Mangano, even Elizabeth Taylor and Rachel Weisz, mastered this style. Penélope's Raimunda in "Volver" was modeled on Magnani, Loren and Cardinale, and I guess that it was the mesy-haired, loud-voiced Penélope that inspired Woody Allen to cast her as the mentally unstable artist in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," a role for which in the past few months she seems to receive an award every other day.
If the profile weren't generous enough we even get several shots of Pené rehearsing her big dance number in Nine. [see many previous posts]

"Coochie coochie coochie coo... / I've got a plan for what I'm gonna do to you
So hot! / You're gonna steam and scream / And vibrate like a string..."

Yes please! More, more, more.

For more on any of these topics, just chase the labels below. Thanks for visiting The Film Experience.
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15 comments:

J.L said...

This is a little bit off topic, but i wonder if there are going to be one more "actress psychic contest"?

NATHANIEL R said...

you mean for 2009? sure.

it won't start until March though --we have to get past this year's Oscars first.

Kevin D. said...

Kat Dennings tho? I mean sure, she's not bad, but there are SO many up-can-comers I'd rather see profiled. Is that harsh?

Katey said...

The things I would do when seated on that couch with the gentlemen in the suspenders... oh the many things I would do...

PIPER said...

I just saw The Reader last night and thought it was very good. Winslet being the best part.

I really, really love her. Hairy armpits and all. I've heard that she's not a really nice person, though.

A story I once heard is that all the PAs on a production of hers pissed into the rain machine right before a scene in which it needed to rain.

NATHANIEL R said...

piper -- i know i met her at an event wherein she was meant to be campaigning (thus friendly) I found her the sweetest celebrity I'd ever met. so I dunno.

i have a hard time believing that she's a bitch in real life though i suppose stranger things have been true.

PIPER said...

Nat,

I'm going to run with that. I would much rather she is a sweet person.

I do love her so.

Alejandro said...

There's a mistake. When Almodovar is comparing Cruz to ladies of the sixties: Magnano Loren, Cardinale and he adds Rachel Weisz, he's really referring to Rachel WELCH as he's always been a fan of hers. Besides Rachel Weisz is out of her league here. Somebody from NYTimes.com surely got lost in the translation.

Andrew said...

Don't you "who else" Kate Winslet... I am so sick of the broad population of the internet attacking her this year just because for once she's (probably and hopefully) going to win. Like she's not a good actress anymore because she's not the underdog.

I really liked The Reader and really didn't like Revolutionary Road, but she was the best part of both movies and probably close to being THE actor of 2008. Which is about time because she should have gotten it for Eternal Sunshine anyway.

sheryl said...

I like that picture of Kate, too, much more than the recent In Style magazine cover shot that was photoshopped to high heaven.

And as for the guys on the couch? I'm with Katey...I want to squeeze in right between them and whisper naughty stuff into Watson's ear...and then bite it...

NATHANIEL R said...

sheryl... you're a calm woman. if i was on that couch...

sheryl said...

Oh Nathaniel, if you only knew the porny thoughts that follow the "dot dot dot" in that sentence...

I've been having dirty thoughts about Watson*...dirty, dirty thoughts...yeah, I know, he's a character, but dang, I'm going to miss the regular set photos...the ones that inspired me to dream of all the ways to get him out of those fancy clothes of his...

(*'course, I regularly have them about Jude)

PIPER said...

To Sheryl's comment.

I had always heard that Kate had refused to be airbrushed and photoshopped in her photos. But I know the cover she's talking about and it looks completely made up.

sheryl said...

Piper, it seems nobody is safe from it. I guess they're goal is to make everyone appear like perfect specimen, but in my opinion, they just make them look freakish. One of the worst cases I've seen in recent months was pics of Rachel Weisz...I can't remember what mag it was, but it was disappointing.

Carlos said...

TEASER FOR ALMODOVAR'S LOS ABRAZOS ROTOS!!! Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqYPKFBmqZE

Your very welcome!!!