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Best Heroes & Villains of 2016

THE SHALLOWS, THE WITCH, ZOOTOPIA, and more...

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Friday
Jul012016

Halfway Mark: Cinematography & Production Design

We've celebrated the male performances and the heroes and villains of the year's first half. But before we get to the actresses -- what? foreplay makes it hotter -- let's revel in the beauty of Cinematography & Production Design. These five choices in each category are what yours truly, Nathaniel, would nominate if the year ended on June 30th. Please share your list of praiseworthy achievements in the comments. Movies are communal and loving them should be, too.

HALFWAY MARK BEAUTY BREAK
CINEMATOGRAPHY & PRODUCTION DESIGN
(January to June theatrical releases only. Disclaimer: I have not yet seen The Mermaid which I hear is an eyeful) 

Best Cinematography
If I had a ballot right now (January to June releases only...) 

A Bigger Splash, Yorick Le Saux
From gold dust sunshine to postcard istas, from the ambient light of off white seaside architecture to intimate dinners by candlelight, Le Saux is always caressing the already sensual actors with light.


 

Embrace of the Serpent, David Gallego
In glorious black and white but for hallucinogenic sequences, the sharp contrast photography does wonders to make this already foreign world look ever more forgotten and alien. And there's something about that inky water that makes the whole picture more suspenseful in its rowing languours.

8 more honorees after the jump...

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Friday
Jul012016

Scarlett Johannson is the grossest actress ever

...as in, the cumilative box office grossings of the films she's starred in!

Josh here to quickly talk earnings. Scarlett's cumulative box office grossings earn her the title of highest grossing actress ever in the USA according to Box Office Mojo. This title is a little misleading as it's not exactly just Scarlett drawing people to all those Marvel movies that she isn't even the lead of (shame!). Along with the Marvel cinematic universe, her massive tally includes her 5 seconds of voice work in The Jungle Book and actual star vehicle Lucy. This puts her ahead of Cameron Diaz, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett and Julia Roberts (who is the only lady on the list not propped up massively by a mega-franchise).

The top ten and more facts about the cashed up list after the jump

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Friday
Jul012016

Posterized: Happy Olivia de Havilland Centennial !

Photo shot last week in Paris, via People magazineHappy 100th birthday Olivia de Havilland! She's our oldest living Oscar winner  and oldest living bonafide movie star (Kirk Douglas, also still with us, is five months younger) and her list of classics is long. She may not have gotten along with her movie sister Joan Fontaine -- their contentious relationship stretches back to childhood (it didn't start when they were Oscar nominated against each other and Joan won) wherein she supposedly made a will at nine years old staying

I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, since she has none"

 ...but that infamous feud aside she was beloved by many. The list includes legends like Erroll Flynn (8 pictures together) and Bette Davis (several pictures and a friend) and actors everywhere owe her for the freedom she wrought for actors in the historic de Havilland decision in the 1940s which Tim discussed in his write-up of The Heiress. I hope she feels the love in France today where she lives. She recently told Vanity Fair that she plans to live to be 110.

We still have two more pieces coming up on individual performances (why cut the bday festivities short?) but let's look at the whole filmography in poster form after the jumpHow many have you seen? 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun302016

Best of June ICYMI

Three of our current June mini-series are not quite over and spilling into July a teensy bit (Olivia de Havilland & Screen Tarzans & Halfway Mark) but it's that time again to look back on the month that was since the calendar stops for no one! One series that is over is our FYC's for Emmy hopefuls including full tough to narrow down ballots for drama and comedy prizes. But all this off-current cinema distraction was fine because this summer movie season hasn't exactly been fire, if you know what I mean. 

5 Personal Favs
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - four-part tag team celebration
"This kind of stuff" - a key scene in Weekend (2011)
The Furniture: Hail Caesar! - Hobie Doyle keeps it simple in "Merrily We Dance"
Tarzan gets his James Bond on -...The Valley of Gold
Jessica Lange's Long Journey - Our new Triple Crowner 

7 That Sparked Most Conversation
Wicked is Finally For Real Coming -- albeit for Christmas 2019
Warcraft. What were they thinking? Video game adaptation is nuts
Noah Galvin, The Real O'Neals - the out star of a great sitcom
The 2016 Tony Awards -Hamilton, The Color Purple and more
Cast This: Oceans Ocho - Who should join Blanchett & Bullock?
Cast This: Murder on the Orient Express - Who should join Angelina Jolie? 
Welcome to the Academy -683 people invited to join 

Awards For June Screenings
Best New Thing: The Fits (2016) 
Best Old Thing: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Craziest Thing: The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant  (Sorry Neon Demon and Swiss Army Man - I know you both desperately wanted this prize.)
Dumbest Thing: Bo Derek & Tarzan... (1981)
Miniature Thing: Trevor (1994)
Saddest Thing: Anton Yelchin suddenly dying
Spookiest Thing: Penny Dreadful's unexpected ending

How was your June?

Coming in July:  Vintage 1977 and the return of the "Smackdown", the 2016 Emmy Nominations on the 14th, plus new movies: The BFG, Captain Fantastic, Ghostbusters, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Star Trek Beyond, Cafe Society and Tulip Fever. Any requests?  

Thursday
Jun302016

Mallick Goes to IMAX

Leave it to Terrence Malick to always keep us guessing when his next film will drop. Recently we got word that his long-rumored documentary Voyage of Time would finally be dropping this fall and on massive IMAX screens to boot - before the star filled Weightless that he shot back-to-back with this year's Knight of Cups. Like his movies, I guess the release schedules and post-production meander as well.

But even without Weightless's star power, Voyage will pack wattage of its own. Ennio Morricone will be scoring the film, reuniting him with the director after almost forty years since they collaborated on Days of Heaven. And there may not be recognizable faces on screen among the eyepopping visuals, but Brad Pitt narrates (Cate Blanchett is set to narrate the extended, non-IMAX version that is also rumored).

If you have your doubts about another Mallick meditation on existance, consider that this version will be running at a swift forty minutes. Without a narrative to distract from the auteur's transfixing visuals (albeit this time without Emmanuel Lubezki behind the camera), this one should give us precisely what we want from him without the frustrations of his recent work. Check out the just released trailer and imagine it on a huge IMAX screen:

Voyage of Time opens in IMAX on October 7. What other Mallick film would you see in IMAX?

Thursday
Jun302016

He Loves Link

Reminder: You can watch the live stream of Broadway's She Loves Me tonight (one of the major Tony nominees this year) on "Broadway HD" for only $9.99 this evening at 8:00 PM EST (though I'd get there before 7:50 PM). The show stars Laura Benanti and Jane Krakowski, two national musical comedy treasures, and some talented men, too. It's the first time in history that a Broadway show has been livestreamed and since Broadway shows aint cheap $10 is practically free. If you check it out, let us know what you thought. Our review icymi.

Links
Variety looks back at the waves made by The Devil Wears Prada 10 years back
Vox has a very sound theory as to why the blockbusters suck this year - the disappearance of second acts in the three act structure
Shout Factory Carrie (1976) is getting a spiffy new Blu-Ray for her 40th anniversary
Birth.Movies.Death on the making of Clash of the Titans. Harry Hamlin was a handful! 
IndieWire how YA stars have emerged as the saviors of American indie films 
THR A24, perhaps emboldened by their first Oscar wins last year (Room + Ex Machina) is really hitting it hard for 2016. They've already released a few notable titles this year with more to come. Now they just picked up Mike Mills 20th Century Women. Can they win Best Actress two years in a row? 
Gold Derby Alison Janney and Julia Louis-Dreyfus will both make history on Emmy night if they win
Birth.Movies.Death on the recent Cap is Hydra comic storyline and how serial storytelling works (it's only the response to serial storytelling that's really changed.) 
Pride Source a fun LGBT themed interview with our new Tarzan Alexander Skarsgård
Boy Culture today is the 30th anniversary of Madonna's "True Blue" album
MNPP Miles Teller in leopard print thong for Bleed For This 

Daniel Craig and Jason Isaacs in the London 1993 production of ANGELS IN AMERICAThis Week's Must Read
"Angels in America: The Complete Oral History" Let us all thank Slate profusely for this retrospective of Tony Kushner's two-part masterwork. Some of my favorite quotes from it.

George C. Wolfe [Director]I think so much of what I did on Part 1 was keeping the hype out of the room and letting everybody play and discover. Because the hype was monumental, the hype was ridiculous, but you can’t work from hype, and you can’t create from hype. God knows you can’t discover anything new.

Joe MantelloFor a lot of us, that production was like going from zero to 100 in our careers, going from being unknown to the play everyone was coming to see.

Marcia Gay HardenI’d walk through the West Village, and people would come up to me and say, “I took my parents to see the play, and then I told them I was gay.” Or: “I took my parents to see it, and then I told them I was dying.” And we would cry on the street. That happened once every couple of weeks.

Rocco LandesmanPersonally, I think the show is a bit long, particularly in Perestroika. I was lobbying for cuts and got none of them. Tony was very gracious. He would hear me out politely and do what he wanted to do, which was not cut. It was like a conversation with August Wilson but worse.

And on Harper Pitt's very last transcendent bit in the play, her flight to San Francisco...

Marcia Gay Harden: I’m tingling right now thinking about it. The synchronicity of the immune system of the Earth, and that can be healed by the people who are suffering with the holes in their own immune system, the tragedy of the souls of those who have been hurt forming a web of protection around the Earth. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever said—or read—in my life.

Mary-Louise ParkerWe shot it in an airplane hangar, and I was really trying to rein in my emotion. I just didn’t feel I quite reached it. I went to lunch, and I was so distraught, and I went to Mike [Nichols, who directed the miniseries] and said, “Can I do it again?” They were literally taking down the wall, and he said, “Oh, my child,” and turned to the crew and yelled, “OK, put the wall back up!”

Tony KushnerIt’s the best paragraph I’ve ever written.

 

 

Thursday
Jun302016

Gird Your Loins. The Devil Wears Prada is 10! 

Gird your loins.

We really had meant to do The Devil Wears Prada anniversary up big but the month got away from us. Today, 10 years ago, The Devil Wears Prada opened in theaters as counterprogramming and blew up, becoming one of 2006's biggest hits and endearing La Streep to a whole new generation of fans. Sadly she didn't win her third Oscar then (it would have solved so many problems later on. Plus, more importantly, she deserved it!). Because time slipped away from us, and tales of our incompetence do not interest her, we present this classic from the old site on this special occasion.

Ten Best Miranda Priestley Line Readings

My flight has been cancelled... "

10. How incredulous and put-out she sounds without even raising her voice. The way she says "school" when referencing her kids recital which she's desperate to attend is giggle worthy, too. So childish. Translation 'How could such a thing happen to the center of the universe... me?'

There you are Emily. How many times do I have to scream your name?"

09. 'Actually my name is Andrea.' Oh shut it Hathaway. She doesn't care. She will call you what she likes and you'll come running...

Click to read more ...