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Thursday
Dec052013

Silent Linking

Variety glorious piece gently berating Disney for their self-loathing Frozen marketing ('no, this isn't about girls and it's not a musical, either!')
Towleroad James Franco's '50 Shades of Batman & Robin'. Ha! I know a lot of people hate Franco's absurdities and his ubiquity but I love that he has turned the boredom of professional acting (all that time not acting on film sets or between jobs) into performance art.
EW Marcia Gay Harden will play Christian Gray's mother in 50 Shades of Gray. Can the movie just be about her instead?
MNPP which is hotter retro reminder: American Hustle's JLaw or... 

Vanity Fair Katey wonder whether Lena Dunham or Kristen Stewart have the Sundanceiest Sundance movie
Time Wispy beautiful Gal Gadot from Fast and Furious 6 will play the world's most famous Amazon warrior, Wonder Woman. Or at least Diana Prince in that likely-to-be-terrible Man of Steel 2 Men of Steel? Batman vs Superman? World's Finest. (I don't care what it's called. So bored of superhero movies... especially Batman. He's been on movie screens regularly since 1989... hibernate in the cave for a bit, PLEASE. Make us miss you)
Cinema Blend Two competing live action version of The Jungle Book are headed your way. It's Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu vs. Jon Favreau. I can't be the only person who still remembers the 90s live action version with Jason Scott Lee, can I?
The Wire Joe Reid on Her's NBR win
Hollywood Elsewhere Jeffrey Wells is grossed out by some hearsay that someone somewhere who is savvy about Oscars thinks Saving Mr Banks is going to win Best Picture. (P.S. You can find someone somewhere who thinks anything... even among people who are generally not completely dumb about the Oscars)
Coming Soon a new Ira Levin adaptation is coming: Veronica's Room. If it's anywhere close to as good as previous Levin adaptations like Rosemary's Baby or The Stepford Wives (original) than we are in for a treat.

Today's Must Read
Gawker Tom Scocca's essay about "Smarm" and social media. A lot of food for thought. Don't dismiss it unless YOU'VE written a 9,253 word thinkpiece...

Finally... 

Library of Congress findings on Silent Films

Finally, I'm noticing a lot of news sites suddenly reporting about these awful stats about the survival of silent film... or the lack thereof that is. This chart and many of the articles, are stemming from a September 2013 report from the Library of Congress which you can read in full here.

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Reader Comments (19)

50 Shades of Marcia Gay, please!

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Ah rats. Hoping you would post a link to the Funny or Die video with Jean Smart as Nikki Finke. So freaking funny, esp. if you've followed the Deadline saga...

Something about 50 Shades and Marcia Gay Harden makes me so sad. Will SOMEONE give her a REAL movie!??!

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Pam -- i don't follow that. i wouldn't know an accurate impression of Nikki Finke if it bit me in the ass. Never quite understand the media's fascination with certain other media people -- usually people will terrible and/or petulant behavior. I assume this is why people are always talking about Jeffrey Wells as well ;) though it makes me angry sometimes because there are so many good writers online worth discussing... but people ignore them for people they like to complain about.

December 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Snap! Didn't mean to offend. It's just that I usually enjoy parodies, particularly parodies of pop culture, and that particular dispute was just so public. And there ARE good online writers focused on cinema out there--you and your contributors are awesome. But the good ones can be hard to find. Why, even the WSJ's movie critic can't pronounce Matthew McConaughey's name right! ;)

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Ugh, as a Marcia completist this means I have to see that dumb movie now.

Also, I totally think that someone somewhere is punking Wells, it's too ironic that his worst awards-season fears (at least this week) are all supposedly coming to life. Those predictions could only have freaked him out more if they'd said Oprah was a sure thing.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

You are most certainly NOT the only person who remembers the Jason Scott Lee live action Jungle Book, Nathaniel. That movie is totally in my memory because it's one of the few movies I remember seeing with my parents (who almost never see movies). As a young child, it was semi-formative because Jason Scott Lee...let's just say, I learned things about myself that can't be unlearned while watching that movie and leave it at that.

Re: the Frozen marketing thing, it's sad but it's honestly become the standard with what are perceived as female leaning movies. Having been a grunt at many production companies, like 90% of the meetings involving their "lady content" is "how can we use marketing to hide from the boys that this is for girls?"

Nathan, how can I work today with that picture of Jason Scott Lee distracting me! LOL

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I am totally behind the love for Marcia Gay, but Mrs. Grey is not an interesting enough character to make a whole movie about (although I'm sure Marcia could make her fascinating).

And yes, I've read the damn book. And kind of enjoyed it. Don't judge me!

Also, Veronica's Room could make for a GREAT movie, but they have to be super careful how they market it. The whole hook of the play is that it takes a turn at the end of the first act (or the beginning of the second, depending on how it's staged) that really works best if you don't know what's coming next. It's like a feature-length Twilight Zone episode, except darker. And with two GREAT roles for actresses.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

brookesboy & TPKIA - it warms the cockles of my heart that other people like to look at Jason Scott Lee. I still remember going to see this movie with my family and I was like i can't wait see Jason Scott Lee (i was deeply in love -- though unvocalized love -- from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) and my sister was like "YES!" and my parents (one of them at least) was like "but he's ugly"... oh no, no, you silly people. my sister looked at each other confused about their aesthetics or maybe their nonworking eyeballs

December 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Not to be a complete comments debbie downer, but I'm glad that the Library Of Congress's study is getting some attention. 70% of early films lost! It's such a sad story. I'd say I hope this study changes things, but considering how much money and time has to be spent to preserve just a fraction of what we have left, I think it's more likely that percentage will just continue to go up.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

Nathan! I have seen Dragon about 12 times! LOL. He IS the perfect male specimen, without a doubt! That scene in the shower. Lord Almighty.

My friend, you have impeccable taste. GREAT story about going to the show. hehe

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Nathaniel,

Have you seen the August Osage County Press Conference with Meryl and Julia? I'd love for you to blog about it - lots of interesting stuff. Meryl seems to have gone through something while filming, she gets quite emotional talking about the character and having to go to that dark, painful place and Julia Roberts remains the ultimate movie star. Here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOOjLTEtF_s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glo7_YM6_ik

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I don't get why Miley Cyrus is a slut for her (almost endearing*) promotionally provocative performances and James Franco with cum on his head is performance art. He's just an attention seeker as so many celebrities before him and after him. Just like Miley Cyrus.


*common, trying to provoke using sex, 30 years after Madonna? Isn't that somewhat cute in the end?

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I had a "meet cute" with Jason Scott Lee, well at least on my end. I was at the post office in West L.A. and turned around and took a step or two and ran into a solid wall of muscle. I almost tripped. I looked over and it was Jason Scott Lee himself. I just about fell over from the fall and he didn't budge a bit. It's hard to describe how big and muscly he was. He doesn't appear that way on camera, but he is in real life, or was at the time. And he has flawless skin. I babbled an apology and noted the glare from his bodyguard, and then got out of there.

It's a good thing no one was around when I watched Dragon in the privacy of my bedroom a few years before. :-)

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Dave, talk about a brush with hotness!

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I don't get why Miley Cyrus is a slut for her (almost endearing*) promotionally provocative performances and James Franco with cum on his head is performance art. He's just an attention seeker as so many celebrities before him and after him. Just like Miley Cyrus.

Because women being provocative or "provocative" almost automatically launches a thousand morality/slut-shaming/feminism/society oversexualizes women! debates, but the same behavior from men doesn't set off the same triggers, for whatever reason. Like the kid from Twilight who was rumored to be recast because he looked too young, but would you look at there, he bulked up rapidly and managed to keep the job where he took of his shirt every other scene, at 17. Imagine if it had been a teen actress in a major franchise who'd dropped 20 pounds in a month and showed up with a suspiciously larger chest, and how much more of a "What a shame! Look at Hollywood does to its young!" reaction that would have taken place.

And how much more would the blogosphere have to say, if Emma Watson did the same type of nude/sex scenes as Daniel Radcliffe has in her non-Potter roles? For the first few years, anyway, it would be non-stop hand wringing about she was letting girls down and how young female stars are "forced" to go the overly sexual route to be taken seriously and blah blah blah. Not to mention if she also had the accompanying real-life revelations of hooking up with her groupies and substance abuse problems while being a teen star in a big franchise, think of all the "little girl lost!" headlines there would have been, along to the inevitable backlash to the backlash about people were calling her a slut, or whatever. Women just face more scrutiny about whatever they do; it's more politicized on all sides.

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

I've had a very long and frustrating day that has left my brain feeling like mush, which has made me unable to wrap my head around that Gawker piece. Can anyone provide me a quick summary?

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Nat: I'm not sick of the superhero genre at all. I AM sick of the DC Cinematic Trainwreck. I AM sick of Warner Bros. trying to continually force adaptations of the material. I get they see the money here, but what they NEEDED to do was to kick out Goyer, Nolan, Snyder and Berlanti and start doing some of this stuff:

Benh Zeitlin on Swamp Thing
Andrea Arnold on John Constantine
Rian Johnson on The Flash (Can you imagine how GREAT that could be? Actual TALENT attached to something that's NOT Batman and THIS SPECIFIC TALENT attached to something that can allow him to be far more idiosyncratic in terms of dialogue, pacing and structure because no one has any expectations of how a Flash movie should look and feel?)
Narrative Miniseries on The Bat Family (focus on the nine member core. Batman, Robins, Batgirls, Alfred. Integration dates aside from Batman into the DC mainline range from 1940-2006.)
Someone on Wonder Woman
Someone on Supergirl (You've got so many takes on it. One of them has got to interest SOMEONE.)
Someone on Legion of Superheroes
Someone on Doom Patrol (If they want to do a whole team at once, why not one of these two? I'd say the Legion would be better (sets some of the necessary groundwork for Booster Gold), but a one and done, R rated superhero team who leaves one character (Beast Boy), alive for future (coughTeenTitanscough) movies? Could hook the right director.
Matthew Vaughn on Booster Gold (an initially thoroughly self interested jerk who becomes a more conventional hero. Somehow, I think Vaughn might be interested in that.)
Someone on Hawkworld.

December 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Veronica's Room is a great work of theater, and has 3 possible powerhouse performances. I used to judge high school theater competitions, and if you had a small strong cast and at least one guy you did Veronica's Room, and if you had only females you did Agnes of God or Eleemosynary.


There are a few problems with Veronica's Room as a film though - first of which is there's no way to market it! You'd have to do something like the first trailer they did for Red Eye where it looked like a Rachel McAdams rom-com except for the last trailer beat. With Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives - you sort of knew where the "horror" aspect was coming from in the title, so any twist is one that is heavily hinted by the title. With Veronica's Room though, the Act I shift is the driver of the suspense and requires the audience to recalibrate on the fly.

Even if you could market it - the other two problems with Veronica's Room are that it doesn't really require you to open it up. It fits on stage well because of the space requirements. I like the movie Wait Until Dark because it sort of understood that that setting - whereas I think the A:OC adaptation loses its bit when there's sunny fields and open air. But - what do I know - other people seem to love A: OC. Lastly - like other Levin twists - its a pretty "mannered" idea. Like Rosemary's Baby, you need to have a clear sense of macabre style to keep people buying into the premise. Both of those could be overcome with a good director though.

December 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterphil

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