a theatre, film & pop culture review
There is really no “type” of movie that wins here; monsters are as likely to be victorious as old men. That being said, I can’t get behind Steve Carell’s nose in Foxcatcher. Nor could Steve, apparently – he was constantly lifting it puzzlingly in the air as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Makeup shouldn’t be distracting, nor should it uncannily resemble an actor’s previous animated role. Seriously.
There’s some nifty makeup going on in Guardians of the Galaxy like the tree-like humanoid Groot and blue assassin Nebula’s half-Terminator, half-Avatar prosthetic. But there’s also the likes of Zoe Saldana’s green Gamora who resembles an Elphaba ripped from the Gershwin Theatre stage and dropped onto planet Morag sans pointy hat. No bueno.
So let’s go with the quirkier of the highbrow choices. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, you wouldn’t know Tilda Swinton was in the film if her name wasn’t in the credits. She disappears into the character of Madame D. with her five-piece wig and 11-piece prosthetic that includes backs of hands, neck, cheek and chin pieces, earlobes, etc., as well as watery contact lenses to give her cataracts and yellowed, aged teeth. It’s crazy-good work, and that’s in addition to the Mexican-peninsula birthmark on Saoirse Ronan, as well as full wigs (F. Murray Abraham), toupees (Ralph Fiennes), and false mustaches (Jude Law) and beards that all look incredibly natural on a cast of literally hundreds.