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Tuesday
Jun302015

June. It's a Wrap

We're about to start a week long "halfway mark" review of 2015. But first let's wrap up June itself. My birthday month is over *sniffle* so if you've been offline and out in the sun this summer, here are a baker's dozen highlights from the month that was, in case you missed 'em.

Kate, Corseted - Winslet's best period piece performances
The Many Tears of Pixar - Inside Out is here to remind us that the great studio loves to make us cry
The Red Shoes - A theatrically audacious masterpiece
Bold Giddy Pop Art - Dick Tracy's 25th Anniversary
The Gleaners and I - Anne Marie looked back at one of the greatest and most personal films of Agnes Varda's fascinating career. I hope you all will seek it out.
'Gobbledygook' - Michael had words for Cameron Crowe's ill conceived Aloha. Loved this bit:

Bradley Cooper is escorted on his mission by Emma Stone. The pairing generates all the romantic sparks of a guy babysitting his rambunctious younger cousin on a weekend road trip.


1979 Discussion - Discussing the most hand-wringing battle of the sexes movie year
Gia - Revisiting Angelina Jolie's white hot HBO breakthrough
Sense8 - Tim reviewed this odd Wachowski Siblings experiment in global trans sci-fi psychic cluster connection
Best of TV in 2015 (Series) - We shared our favorites and discussed well over a dozen series 
Sing Along - Best movie songs of the 1990s - this list got you talking!
Rising Like a Phoenix - Glenn checked out the recently reedited and reonfigured flop '54 and found it a much better film 17 tears later (I concur. I was able to see it recently and it's so much more focused and enjoyable than it was back then with studio-mandated reshoots lopped off and original material reinserted.)

P.S. And one more round of applause for this month's very special in-house guests!
Cara Seymour talked The Knick, American Psycho and her favorite films 
Ann Dowd talked The Leftovers and how she fell for acting  

COMING IN JULY
Tangerine, Trainwreck, Ant-Man, the films of Kathryn Bigelow in Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures", and looks back at Angels in America and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Reminder: 1995 is our "year of the month" as we prep for another Smackdown on July 26th.

Tuesday
Jun302015

1948: The Incredible Introduction of Montgomery Clift

The Smackdown may have ended but here's one last 1948 piece from abstew on TFE's favorite classic dramatic actor to close out the year of the month. - Editor

Before there was Brando and James Dean there was Montgomery Clift. And while those actors are often credited for bringing a new type of leading man to the big screen, through a mix of masculine machismo with feminine vulnerability, without Clift paving the way, the future of acting might have looked far different. The country was just emerging from the hardships of WWII. After seeing the travesties of war firsthand, they were ready for something more realistic and Clift was the answer to the change they were seeking. Having worked as a stage actor for over 10 years (where he made his Broadway debut at age 15 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning There Shall Be No Night), Clift was a serious actor that had honed his craft and emerged fully-formed in Hollywood with his first two films, both released in 1948, the western Red River and the post-war drama The Search

Having caught Clift in a production of the Tennessee Williams play You Touched Me!, director Howard Hawks convinced the young actor to bring his unique set of skills to his western. John Wayne, an actor so synonymous with the genre that he was practically its patron saint, was already headlining and Hawks felt that Clift, who didn't even know how to ride a horse, would bring a different energy and dynamic to the stoic western figure. Wayne needed some convincing and laughed at the thought of the slender Clift being able to hold his own in the film's final throw down confrontation against him. But Clift, ever the professional, worked tirelessly to master the demands of the role and gives a performance that pays homage to cowboys past but is entirely its own creation. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun302015

Curio: Alex Kittle, A.K.A. Guilty Cubicle

Alexa here. I've been a follower of Alex Kittle's for a long time.  She's blogged furiously about art and film for years (previously as Film Forager and now here), and her tastes run closely to mine: feminism, cult oddities, Cindy Sherman, Technicolor musicals and The Apartment are but a few her passions. Alex also also makes art in her free time (although I don't know how she has any), specifically movie-themed prints, postcards, and posters, under the etsy banner Guilty Cubicle.  

A sample of some of my favorite designs of hers...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun292015

J U L I E 

Monday
Jun292015

Somewhere That's Link

Defamer Elizabeth Berkley finally coming to terms with the love out there for Showgirls -- like Faye Dunaway with Mommie Dearest this has been difficult for her
Towleroad ...and there's video of the event, too!
Theater Mania to say that I am excited to see Ellen Green reprise her Audrey Little Shop of Horrors role this week (I bought tickets the day they went on sale, long before Jake Gyllenhaal nabbed the Seymour part) would be the understatement of the summer. I'm more excited for it than any upcoming movie. Yes, even Magic Mike XXL. She talks about returning to the role.
Awards Daily Kathryn Bigelow (our filmmaker of the month for Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures" series, every Thursday) pens an op-ed on endangered elephants

Birth.Movies.Death New Spider-Man movie will have a "John Hughes Vibe" and they're not going back to the Goblin again for a villain. Wow... you mean they realized that three times as villain in 12 years was enough?
Hayley Atwell continues to ace her social media game 
VF Meryl Streep asking Congress to revive the Equal Rights Amendment 
EW why Inside Out kept "Bing Bong" a secret (would that more films would keep em)
Nicole Kidman just celebrated 9 years with Keith Urban 
Interview Kyle Maclachlan talks about returning to Agent Dale Cooper for Twin Peaks
Dissolve upcoming movies for EuropaCorp including a sequel to Lucy... even though Scarlett Johansson morphed into an entirely digital entity by the end? well, ok!
The Movie Scene on all this talk of gender equality in "objectification" for the cinema which is usually lusting after only women
Ant-Man gets a "meet the crew" tv spot so finally David Dastmalchian, T.I., and especially the always wonderful Michael Peña show up in the promotional material

Oscar Talk
Hot Blog setting the Best Picture field -is Carol the only possibility thus far that's been seen
THR on the more inclusive more foreign Academy invites 

Must Read
Vulture's TV Awards series has been fairly cool, including entries from actual TV artists, but they ended incredibly strong with this piece by Matt Zoller Seitz on Mad Men as TV's Best Show overall. Frankly, it might well be the best essay on Matthew Weiner's masterful achievement that I've ever read and I've read a lot of them! Love this 'graph near the opening:

All of the episodes, even the ones I don’t especially like, are inexhaustibly detailed: packed with comic and dramatic moments; period-accurate clothing and hairstyles and music; imaginative, hilarious, and often deeply moving performances; and screenwriting that depicts the complexities and contradictions of the human personality with more insight and empathy than any American series in recent memory. It’s a historical drama about how individuals are and are not affected by the local, national, and international history that’s constantly unfolding around them. It’s a psychodrama about how our personalities are shaped by our parents, our lovers, our friends, our bosses, and everyone else we know, as well as by people we’ve never met but feel as though we know: the politicians, civil-rights leaders, athletes, movie stars, musicians, and other icons who inspire, entertain, confound, and sometimes anger us as we muddle through our daily lives. It’s also a series with an unusually strong affinity for mythology, spirituality, religion, psychoanalysis, pop psychology, literature, poetry, cinema, and all the other means by which human experience is transformed into narrative. And at every level — the scene, the episode, the season, and in total — it is a masterpiece of construction, filled with major and minor bits of foreshadowing and recollection, lines and images that seem to answer each other across time.

Read it! And hope along with us that it pulls off a historic fifth win at the Emmys in September. Mad Men (2008-2011 wins) is currently tied with Hill Street Blues (1981-1984 wins), LA Law (1987,1989-1991 wins), and The West Wing (2000-2003 wins) for the most Drama Series wins (4 each). The leader for nominations is Law & Order which was nominated 11 times, far outdistancing its nearest rivals (The Sopranos, Mad Men, ER, Studio One, and The West Wing)

P.S. on the TV Front:  I just watched my first episode of Fresh Off the Boat since y'all were complaining about Constance Wu not making our Best Actress list. It's really funny. They won "best couple" at Vulture 

PRIDE WEEKEND - SHOWTUNE TO GO...
I was feeling so much love for heroes of the past (and present -- it used to be that only Broadway had multiple out stars but now every medium does) but I was especially pleased that I wasn't the only one singing Madonna's praises... she supported the LGBT community long before it was par for the course with celebrities but gays can be fickle and though her iconic status will never be undone, sometimes people are assholes about her what with all the ageism and so on. 

All in all it was a good weekend. And all the marriage equality will eventually lead us into a less homophobic world as there are endless examples of people being less prejudiced once they are familiar with the "other" (any kind of prejudice applies). On this note, Variety is wondering when film is going to catch up with TV when it comes to comfort with the gays?  

Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi were the Grand Marshalls of the NYC parade. And anyway, gay geniuses of the past and out talents of the present should both be celebrated. And not only on Pride Weekend. So how about some Cole Porter via John Barrowman in the movie De-Lovely as we move into a new week. (That movie is kind of a mess -- anyone remember it? -- but this seen is lovely) 

Monday
Jun292015

Beauty vs Beast: Mother Machine

Jason from MNPP here wishing everyone a happy Monday, and a happy July-4th-weekend-to-be - speaking of, hitting theaters this big holiday weekend is the latest movie in the unstoppable Terminator franchise... is anybody excited? I imagine it's hard for most of us to stir up a ton of enthusiasm five movies in and coming off of two entirely lackluster sequels, but I really love the cast that's been assembled so I will probably get suckered in one more time. Jason Clarke wouldn't steer us wrong... right? That said for this week's "Beauty vs Beast" let us look back at the last time the franchise was good with the movie every sequel since has been riding the fumes from, James Cameron's 1991 action classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day.You have one week to choose!

PREVIOUSLY Billy Wilder's birthday carried us up into the dark weird manors of the Hollywood Hills with a face-off between Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond and her post-dead boy-toy Joe, and Norma's stardust was too much for us to resist. She carried just under 80% of the vote! Said tom:

"While Joe seems to inspire those around him, Norma consumes them. She probably swallows them whole. You have to vote for someone with an appetite like that."