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Monday
May022016

Stage Door: She Loves Me (and Tony Preview)

Overheard whilst exiting Broadway's She Loves Me this weekend:

[surprised] That was just like 'You've Got Mail'!

Bingo, tourist ladies, bingo. She Loves Me, the 1963 musical, currently in the middle of its second Broadway revival, is adapted from the 1937 Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László. It's inspired so many riffs so often you'd think it was a Shakespeare comedy. The play has already resulted in three well-known movies in the form of the touching Jimmy Stewart clasic (The Shop Around the Corner, 1940), an undervalued Judy Garland romance (In the Good Old Summertime, 1949), and the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks rom-com You've Got Mail (1998). The shop changes as does the mode by which the anonymous lovers correspond without realizing they know and hate each other in real life. Expect an internet catfishing riff on the story in 3...2...1... Anyway, in 1963 the play was adapted into She Loves Me for the musical stage...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May022016

Which actors will Oscar celebrate this year?

We've discussed Best Actress and the overall April Foolish Predictions so let's talk Best Actor & Supporting Actor

First, we have to wonder what it will take to get Tom Hanks back in Oscar's shortlist. His last two acclaimed hits have wound up with Best Supporting Actor & Best Picture nominations but Hanks was passed over in both cases. If the same thing happens with Aaron Eckhart in the co-pilot seat of Sully, the famous story of the pilot who successfully crash landed a plane on the Hudson, we'll have a bonafide trend and not just a coincidence. That's what I'm currently predicting though of course it's all fun and games now before we see the films. And before we even know about several competitors as the year doesn't really get going until the fall according to Oscar voters.

The pressure is off Birth of a Nation... at least a little bit. Several films with actors of color look promising this year, so it needn't be the sole standard bearerIn other acting category predictions, I feel confident in saying that we'll see the end of the dread #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Or, rather, the issue will persist (Hollywood having white male imbalance problems) but it will take a different shape, less focused on the Oscar's acting branch which was an easy but unfortunate scapegoat of a much larger Hollywood problem. The Acting branch has always been the most inclusive and diverse of any Oscar branch but the uproar and embarrassing photo ops of the past two years -- as well as, yes, too-defensive quotes from some famous actors themselves -- have convinced the public otherwise. With more racially diverse dramas being released this year (Fences, Birth of a Nation, A United Kingdom, Loving, Lion and possibly more)  it should be an easy fix; AMPAS members can only vote for films and performances that are eligible. My sincere hope is that we see a few Latino or Asian nominees in the mix soon so we can move past this idea that racial identity and diversity are binaries. But first people will have to start actually casting Latin and Asian actors in movies. Wouldn't that be nice. It's especially rough for Asian actors since they nearly always change their characters to white characters between source material and production.

[Tangent for Hard Core Fans: Despite the difficulty of predicting a full slate of nominees this far in advance I don't actually do a poor job of it. Even in the below the line craft lineups I tend to score two of five before we've seen any films. This sounds easy but I assure you it's not. Try it one year in April and save your list with no changes ever each time you hear news or release date shifts thereafter and see how many remain at the end of the year. Best Actor remains my best category in terms of flying that blind. In 2013 and 2015 I correctly guessed 4 of the 5 nominees this early which is really something. And in 2001 and 2008 the scores would have also been that incredible but for the business of men being nominated the next year instead. - Nathaniel]

Monday
May022016

Beauty vs Beast: Who's Splashin' Who

Jason from MNPP here with our Tuesday serial "Beauty vs Beast" - one of our most anticipated movies of the year is out this upcoming Friday with A Bigger Splash, director Luca Guadagnino's reunion with his I Am Love star Tilda Swinton. (I saw the two of them talk here in NYC recently and the love is real, people.) Coming along for the ride is the hottest cast this side of sex-dreams - Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, and my Belgian boyfriend Matthias Schoenaerts. (Back off, people - when you've done over 100 posts about him maybe we can talk.) The sweat's been palpable in every trailer we've seen, and we can't wait.

I imagine most of you know this film is a remake of Jacques Dera's equally perspirant La Piscine from 1969, which starred Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet and Jane Birkin as the equally (maybe even more, somehow???) photogenic foursome, and that's where we're taking you for today's challenge. I'm not sure how well-seen this movie is these days so I foresee a lot of votes being cast simply for "Alain Delon in a swimsuit" but I have no problem with that. It deserves recognition! (Plus Ronet's no slouch in the sex department.)

PREVIOUSLY You guys sure were hot for Chicago and those dangerous dames at its black jazzy heart - with just under 600 votes the contest was as tight as Roxie's fringed dress, but she ultimately stomped her way to the title with .34% of the vote. Wowza! Said Nick T:

"The fact that these women are so close to tying is probably the best way to reward two great characters who'd be livid that they're tying with anyone at all, especially each other."

Monday
May022016

TCMFF Presents Faye Dunaway & Network

Anne Marie here, reporting with a 30 share on Hollywood Blvd!

The 7th Annual TCM Film Fest ended on a high note this year with Network. Though a satire about network television may not seem like the first choice for a film festival sponsored by a teleivion network, nonetheless TCM rolled out the red carpet, not only for the movie, but also for Faye Dunaway. The Academy Award-winning legend introduced the movie by talking to TCM host Ben Mankiewicz about the work - her process, her co-workers, and her thoughts on television and film.

Dunaway started by describing just how many people told her not to take the role of Diane Christensen in Network. Hot off the success of Bonnie & Clyde and Chinatown, Dunaway had awards goodwill to burn. Even Network director Sideney Lumet told her not to take the role. However, Faye Dunaway went against Lumet's good advice, and starred in Network regardless. When Mankiewicz asked her why she'd risk her career to play such a heartless character, Dunaway replied, "This was too interesting an exploration of American culture not to do it."

Dunaway was effusive in her praise of her costars and crew. She called William Holden as a man with "crusty elegance," and amitted that she nicknamed Sidney Lumet Roller Skates because he delivered movies on time and under budget no matter what. When asked what it was like to win an Academy Award, Dunaway could only quip, "You forget to thank people you were supposed to thank."

While the dour tone of Network may not seem like your first choice for a TV film festival, nevertheless the film and its interview beforehand showed what TCMFF is all about. Over 4 days, TCM screened dozens of lost treasures from Hollywood and beyond, exposing the multiplicity that makes true cinephile. As Dunaway said before she was whisked away: TCM does crucial work for promoting classic cinema. And this definition of "classic" always evolves.

Monday
May022016

The Furniture: That Hamilton Woman's High Ceilings

It's another episode of "The Furniture," Daniel Walber's new series

75 years ago, the United Kingdom was standing nearly alone against the growing might of Nazi Germany. It remained unclear whether the United States would enter the war. And so, from within Hollywood, Alexander Korda set out to help sway American public opinion toward the Union Jack.

That Hamilton Woman was released on April 30th, 1941. Its propagandistic portrayal of Lord Horatio Nelson and his victory over Napoleon’s navy nearly got Korda into very real legal trouble as a foreign agent. His appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was scheduled for December 12th, but the attack on Pearl Harbor saved the director’s skin. Three quarters of a century later, its reputation rests not on its patriotism, but on its lush melodrama. It continues to enchant as a ravishing portrait of adulterous romance, art imitating the lives of stars Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. He’s Nelson, she the titular Emma, Lady Hamilton who stole his heart and paid the price. [More...]

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Monday
May022016

Thoughts I Had While Staring at… this Snowden Poster

Manuel here. We did it last year when we got our first look at the poster for that other Joseph Gordon-Levitt biopic film (remember The Walk? No?) so let’s do the same with this new one sheet for the Oliver Stone flick about Edward Snowden after the jump...

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Monday
May022016

A Warning

Hit Me With Your Best Shot takes on Death Becomes Her (1992) tomorrow night. You know you would like to talk...about...  Madeline Ashton. If you're playing along send us your links when you publish your favorite shot to your blog or social media account.