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"Annihilation, First Man and Roma are especially pretty" - Anonny

"The best thing about Roma is that splendid Black and White cinematography. And Lady Gaga could not have asked for a better shot film" - Jaragon

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The Playlist Stop the presses! Nicole Kidman is working with Jane Campion again, probably on her adaptation of The Flame Throwers
Variety interviews Jurassic World's mini-star Ty Simpkins who has quite a resume for a 13 year-old
Kenneth in the (212) Fred MacMurray was once quite a hunk. How did this escape me? 
MNPP Finn Wittrock joins the cast of AHS: Hotel. So after years of supplying only major diva thrills (not complaining), Ryan Murphy is finally supplying massive hunkiness... all of the dark haired pale skin variety: Cheyenne, Finn, Bomer

MNPP reminds us that Starz is greenlighting potentially great stuff to series: Evil Dead and Neil Gaiman's American Gods (have you read that book? So good.)
THR interview with editor on Inside Out
Birth. Movies. Death. on the strangely cruel deaths of Jurassic World 
Playbill composer Andrew Lippa (I saw his oratorio "I Am Harvey Milk" last fall and it was magnificent) is writing a song for Kristin Chenoweth's Maleficent  for that Disney series Descendants
LA Times looks at the Emmy races for Best Comedy - can Modern Family finally be dethroned?
Empire In news that won't surprise anyone anywhere Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks are joining forces for a heroic Oscarbait biopic Captain Sully

Lots o' Fun
Den of Geek "Cats are not Capable of Understanding Rambo: First Blood Part II"
Jezebel "Damn, Meryl Streep is Great at Turning Off the Lights"
Pajiba Annie Golden, mute Norma on Orange is the New Black, used to be a 70s punk rocker

Hero of the Month!
I have to bow down to my friend Tim Brayton (of Tim's Toons right here) whose site Antagony & Ecstasy has always been one of the very best strictly-movie-reviews sites around. As previously noted Tim, who is a cancer survivor, held a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society -- anyone who donated to them via his fundraiser got a review of their choice -- and he raised nearly $5,000 this year! He's not done with all the reviews yet so I don't know what some TFE readers who donated chose but I can see your names in the list. My requested review was this one for Love With the Proper Stranger (1963) starring Natalie Wood. But he reviews whatever is requested so there's lots of variety: The Iron Giant, Evita, Ball of Fire, Meet the Feebles, Grosse Pointe Blank, you name it.

Bitch I'm Madonna
Here is the Queen's newest video with a slew of guest stars*, yes, but the most exciting thing is unquestionably Madonna herself, still flipping off the the ageist and haters -- "we go hard or we go home" and Madonna aint ever goin home, duh! -- with that ombre trashy pink hair, making out with random partygoers, throwing a drink down Jon Kortajarena's throat (as one does), dancing with naked Asian girls. My favorite part is that awesome collapse at the tail end of the video twice over as the party continues to rage on all around and above her. That final long shot when the hotel's candy colored lights go from garish to dreamy with a single cut is also a keeper. Nice work Jonas Akerlund.

*Beyonce looks like she doesn't want to do it -- so they shoulda cut her -- but everyone else gets into it. My least favorite part is the extended Nicki Minaj rap... if only because Nicki isn't actually there. If you're going do a "featuring" role, commit, damnit! Still, I heart "The Snap"'s take on How Madonna convinced these stars to do it.

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Reader Comments (12)

Fred MacMurray was a hunk in Double Indemnity, just not a shirtless one. Woof.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I don't care for the song at all but the video is eye-catching and fun. Also, Luke Evans might've retreated back to the closet but I can't even hate on him because he managed to snag Jon Kortajarena on the way there. I could stare at Jon for hours.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

I think it's time for Madonna to retire. That video reeks of egomania and desperation to be relevant and cool to young people.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

Sorry but that Madonna video is so weak. And the song is atrocious. I have the upmost respected for her creativity - I think her 80s-mid 2000s range was phenomenal - but from Hard Candy onwards she really isn't doing anything of value.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

That Madonna video is awesome. It captures the tone of the song perfectly, and it's typical Madonna in the sense that it's tongue and cheek and not meant to be taken TOO seriously, but has enough artistic quality that it has to be taken somewhat seriously. (The costumes, art direction, camerawork all phenomenal, for example).

@Steven -- Of course it reeks of egomania. Madonna has one of the biggest egos in the business. I mean, the song is called "Bitch I'm Madonna" for a reason! And if by desperation you mean working hard to stay successful in a constantly changing music industry in the MOST evolving genre of music (pop) at an age when most performers are in Vegas and/or singing their classic hits at casinos (how's it going Mariah?), then yes, Madonna is SO desperate. But you must remember: one man's desperation is another man's hard work and ambition. You don't get to the top by being all hipster about it and saying, "I'm not gonna try hard this time." You get to the top by working your ass off every single time. I think it's funny how so many people on social media want to give Madonna career advice when she's had the most successful career out of any pop star in music history. I think she's got it figured out people!

@ Andrew-- I kind of agree, although I think 'Hard Candy' is 'Holiday' for the 21st century. It's a pure blast from start to finish. Is it her major work of art? No, but the songs are catchy and fun. "Heartbeat" and "She's not Me" will always be favorites of mine. MDNA has its weak moments as well, but "Gang Bang", "I'm Addicted", "Falling Free", and "Love Spent" stand with her best work. And the 'Rebel Heat' era is a return to form.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I've read The Flamethrowers and I can't think of any large roles Nicole could play, but there might be an interesting small part in forgetting. I'm so glad that movie is actually happening.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

@ Joseph

I just miss feeling blown away by Madonna. I SO badly want her to find a sound that doesn't feel like it's two years behind. My dream is also for her to work with Fincher one last time, but I can't see that happening. Also, in retrospect I agree that the production values, apart from Nicki Minaj on the TV screen, and the celebrity cameos, are beautiful. But the content of the video itself is just boring and like every other debauched party video done by 6000 other artists, who frankly, do not possess anywhere near the same talent as someone who gave us the videos for 'Justify My Love', 'Like a Prayer', 'Vogue', 'Express Yourself', 'Frozen', 'Ray of Light', 'Bedtime Story', 'Material Girl' and 'Human Nature'.

June 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

@Joseph-I liked Madonna from the 80s to 2000 but that's it. Why does she need the likes of Nicki Minaj and Beyonce? Can't she just do it by herself? Why go to all of the trouble to get these hot producers who really have no idea of what made her so revered in the first place?

And thus is why I realize why David Bowie doesn't like her. She tries too hard to be relevant and be cool. Bowie doesn't need to do that. When Bowie did Let's Dance, he treated it as an experimental record which was very successful though it start a bad period of him catering to the world of 80s mega-stardom which he fortunately would rebel against with Tin Machine no matter how polarizing it was. When Bowie released his last album 2 years ago, I didn't think he was ever going to return but once he made that announcement on his website w/o the need to do any interviews or any kind of big press. He just releases it w/o any kind of hype or anything big. He lets the music back it up.

Madonna hasn't made a lot of great things in the past 12 years, with the exception of "Hung Up" because of a fucking ABBA sample, as she wanted to be the cool grandma or something. Instead, she's become a fucking joke.

June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

The song is awful though,Hold Tight or even Iconic would have made a better single.

June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

@Andrew -- You raise some interesting points. I wonder, though, if Madonna was ever THAT ahead of the curve, or if it just seemed that way because we didn't have the internet? In other words, wouldn't a song like 'Bitch I'm Madonna' feel trend-setting if the Internet wasn't around? Is the reason why it feels "two years behind" because the Internet gives us more access to underground artists? I ask because you can make a case that 'Ray of Light', while innovative for Madonna and for mainstream pop, was similarly borrowing from the underground, but the difference back then was that mainstream audiences didn't have such easy access to the underground sounds via internet and social media, and so it seemed more innovative than it actually was.

I also wonder if Madonna is making some kind of commentary on the "debauched party video", as if to say, "I can do it too, but when I do it, my video will have artistic merit." Maybe I'm giving her too much credit, but I feel like she's purposefully doing what all the younger pop stars do with the party songs and party videos to assert her authority and show that she can do it better. And the punchline is that she's doing it only because she can, because "Bitch I'm Madonna."

@Steven-- I understand your POV, I just reject the cynical view that Madonna's recent music is made solely to appeal to a younger audience. I feel like she's just evolving as an artist and with the new sounds, and she wants to constantly update her sound with each new album. Okay, so maybe sometimes it doesn't work, but I admire the effort.

She's in between a rock and a hard place, as most established artists often are. If she updates her sound for the 21st century, she'll alienate her older fans who grew up with her in the '80s or '90s. If she doesn't update her sound, she won't make any new fans. Some artists like Springsteen never update their sound, and as a result, his music will always appeal to the same fans that loved 'Born to Run' in the '70s. Other artists like Prince always update their sound, and as a result, older fans who loved 'Purple Rain' tune out.

Honestly I feel like Madonna just gets into the studio, makes what she wants to make, puts it out there, and hopes for the best. I don't think she's wondering which fans will love it and which won't. She's said in numerous interviews that she trusts the right people will find her music.

Okay that's great for David Bowie, but by putting her new music out there, Madonna exposes younger listeners to her work. At least she's in the running. Her new music still trends on social media, she still causes controversy and generates discussion, and she still has relevance and significance. She recently broke a record for the most number one singles on any chart in Billboard history. I'm not saying she's as hip right now as Taylor Swift or Katy Perry to the young crowd, but that's no different than in the 2000s when she was competing with younger hip artists like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. As it turns out, Spears and Aguilera fizzled out, and Madonna's still around.

June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

It is hard for anybody staying such a long time in a business like the music industry that's so extreme trendy and always on the hunt for the next hit.
The biggest diva is the audience: they always want something new or at least something that's as good as someone's best work and they can get really angry when they don't get it.
Madonna's still there though. Wasn't "Rebel" quite critically acclaimed? A lot called it her best album in years if I remember correctly.

June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSonja


I think ICONIC would be a great opening song to start the Rebel Heart tour... Cant wait to see it!

June 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID S

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