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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Where My Girls At? Brie Larson, Viola Davis, Kiki Dunst & More...

And now our semi-weekly check in with actresses we love. Where / What / Who are they up to?

Brie Larson has accepted an offer to star in the psychological horror drama as "Ma", about a woman who's trapped in her father's basement for years with her son. It's based on the novel by Emma Donoghue who also did the screenplay but the novel is narrated by the 5 year old child who's only ever known this one room so that one's going to be tricky to make breathe as a film. This seems a better fit for her dramatic gifts than that dumb Terminator reboot she lost out on. The actress is in demand now post Short Term 12 as well she should be. She's also got The Gambler remake and the comedy Trainwreck coming out. Room is not the only novel adaptation she's attached to. She'll probably co-star in The Good Luck of Right Now based on a forthcoming novel by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick. From descriptions of the novel I'm guessing she's playing the librarian girlfriend of the bipolar leading man, who believes she was once abducted by aliens. [src]

As we feared but predicted Hollywood wasted the golden years right after The Help (a white actress in that kind of huge hit / breakthrough would have gotten a ton of follow up offers) and kept on casting Viola Davis in thankless supporting bits that didn't really require her skill level. Just as they'd always done. But the actress stays busy. As previously discussed she has a small but potentially showy role in Get On Up, the James Brown biopic.  And she is politically active too. The actress, who often went hungry as a child living in poverty is speaking out as part of the "Hunger Is" initiative. [src

You wake up thinking about food, you go to sleep thinking about food. We live in a country where you can have anything in your reach, and it's emotionally shameful to live in a land of plenty with nothing to eat. 

That little girl who grew up in dysfunction and poverty is still with me. That's why I need to help those who don't have a voice."

She's already filmed her next five roles: as previously discussed she'll play the showy small role of James Brown's mom in Get On Up (August, 2014); she's excellent as a college professor in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Pts 1 and 2 (release date still TBA but I saw it at TIFF); she's in Michael Mann's thriller Cyber (January, 2015) with Chris Hemsworth as the headliner and supposedly her role is large there as an FBI agent; She'll headline Shonda Rhimes TV series "How To Get Away With Murder" and if it gets picked up past the pilot, don't expect to see her on your movie screens for awhile; The other leading role is Lila & Eve (she plays Lila) but her co-star is... (wait for it)... Jennifer Lopez? Huh. They play moms out to avenge their children who were gunned down in a drive by. The film is directed by Charles Stone III (Mr 3000 and Drumline). There's been little movement on the most exciting Viola projects though -- still no word on a film version of Fences (her Tony winning role despite the obvious marketability (Denzel Washington  is proven to be one of the surest box office draws in the world) and her proposed biopic about politician Barbara Jordan with a screenplay by Tony Kushner is also quiet. Both are the kind of prestige projects that could challenge her and win her an Oscar but I fear neither are going to happen.

[SPOILER ALERT] Lt. Ellen Ripley may return in Prometheus 2 from Ridley Scott. Rumor has it that Sigourney Weaver will return to her signature role. Or a clone version thereof. [/SPOILER]

There is nothing happening. I continue to be so disappointed that she does not care. She's an empty-nester this year even so for god's sake get back to work.

Kirsten Dunst, whose career is back on track with the 1-2-3 punch of great performances in All Good Things, Bachelorette, and Melancholia has upset people with not-exactly progressive gender comments she made to Harpers Bazaar UK (she's on the cover, pictured above). But we're here to talk about her career. 

She'll be back on screens very soon in the Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces of January (torn between Viggo & Oscar Isaac? Tough life) and not very soon but maybe later this year in Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special a father and son sci-fi-tinged drama (his follow up to Mud so one assumes he'll get bigger budgets now) so it surely won't be focused on her. Still... I feel more offers really ought to be headed her way, right? Her career is back on track but it isn't quite on fire. Some auteur needs to bring some gasoline. Because, as former co-star Ben Foster agreed in our interview in 2011, her talent is major. "She is a beast of an actor, always has been." 


you're just *now* realizing this?


22 Link Street

actually there's only 15 links... 15 link street. Lots of reads for you today, here and elsewhere

My New Plaid Pants has a wonderfully incisive review of Joe starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan
The Film Doctor nostalgia in the Smithsonian. Notes on Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Empire brilliant stage actor Mark Rylance will play Johnny Depp's father in Eyesore in Wonderland's sequel Through the Looking Glass
The Wrap Matt Damon planning to go solo on Mars in the sci-fi thriller The Martian about an astronaut marooned there. Remember when Matt got lost in the desert in Gerry? That was intense. I'm so ready for Matt to impress me again but honestly he's been a little dull onscreen of late. Needs a role that will shake him up.
Cinema Blend 22 Jump Street gets a final red band trailer

The Front Row on dream projects and Darren Aronofsky's Noah
Theater Mania Bullets Over Broadway opens on Broadway today in the effort to make the Great White Way an all 90s film adaptation monopoly. (Seriously there are so many) 
The Wrap The Truman Show (my #1 of 1998) which was about a reality tv show starring a man who didn't know he was the star of a tv show may well become a tv show. The levels.
THR Taylor Kitsch talks about his, uh, crotch in his pants on The Normal Heart. Costume design by Daniel Orlandi
Coming Soon the posters for How to Train Your Dragon 2 have arrived. I love that first film muchly but I worry about a sequel as I always do
Pajiba Mae Whitman (Parenthood, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) inexplicably cast as Designated Ugly Fat Friend in new comedy
The Wire has done a smart thing, surveying where we've been with each crucial Mad Men characters these past six years as we begin the final season this Sunday 
Vanity Fair Kierna Shipka (Mad Men) can't promise she won't break our hearts 

The Wire Joe Reid ranks the cast of indie hit Go (such a good one) long after that road trip movie on its fifteenth anniverary. My favorite part was always the subtitled cat. 
Film School Rejects looks back at Shaun of the Dead on its 10th anniversary. What does it teach us about relationships?  

Today's Watch
Jon Stewart educates the Christian Right / Fox News axis of evil on the Bible and Noah. I seriously would lose my sanity dealing with the news if it weren't for Jon Stewart





April Showers: Flirting With Disaster

waterworks each night at 11

How many of you have seen David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster (1996)? With the exception of the stupidly maligned I ♥ Huckabees, it's his funniest film. One day it will surely be rediscovered given the attention his films regularly win now. The film centers on bickering spouses Mel & Nancy (Ben Stiller & Patricia Arquette) who are searching for Mel's birth parents. In the screwball chaotic final act, they end up sharing the guest rooms in the crowded home of drug-loving hippie conspiracy theorists (Lily Tomlin, Alan Alda, Glen Fitzgerald) with a neurotic adoption agency executive Tina (Tea Leoni) and federal agents partners Paul and Tony (Richard Jenkins and Josh Brolin) who are also lovers. Eyes start to wander: Tina and Mel get flirtatious and Tony just can't stop coming on to Nancy.

While Mel enjoys a very uncomfortable dinner downstairs, upstairs tattooed and pierced Tony walks right into Nancy's bathroom where she's brushing her teeth. She immediately gets nervous and drops a picture frame on the floor and begins babbling about prints she has at home. Should she frame them? Anything to avoid looking at this bisexual hunk in a towel. He interrupts...

Tony: Do you want to take a shower?

Click to read more ...


Roland Emmerich To Make His First Gay Movie "Stonewall"

Roland Emmerich will direct Jeremy Irvine in "Stonewall"Roland Emmerich is a size queen. I had the world's shortest interview with him while he was promoting Anonymous, a rare trip away from the ginormous epic blockbuster spectacles he prefers to make. But that was, in its own peculiar academic-enraging way, also supersized with CGI and a lusty embrace of conspiracy theories. In fact he ended our interview defending the size of his pictures.

It has to be big or I don't like it."

My mind raced back to that interview today when the news broke that Emmerich plans to make a drama about the Stonewall riots which poured gasoline on the then tiny embers of the gay rights movement. He'll film Stonewall before embarking on the long gestating Independence Day sequels. Young beauty Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, The Railway Man) has the lead role as a man who has a political awakening with the riots as backdrop.

That sounds quite a lot like the other movie about the Stonewall Riots which was also called simply Stonewall (1995). It followed a young gay looker (Frederick Weller) who got more politicized by dating a drag queen (Scandal's Guillermo Díaz when he was young and a tiny slip of a thing) with the Stonewall riots as backdrop.

Stonewall (1995) with Guillermo Díaz and Frederick Weller

I'm honestly a bit surprised though because when I interviewed Emmerich he didn't seem likely to do something that direct. Here's what he told me at the time.

NATHANIEL: You're an out director, you've donated to gay causes. But you do all these huge mainstream sci-fi movies. Would you ever do a gay film? 

ROLAND EMMERICH: If the right one comes along. I would love to put more openly gay characters in my mainstream movies which is something I'm really working on. Honest to god, I'm constantly trying, like, "who can i make gay?" [Laughter]. But i also don't want to do it blatantly. That's not good. It's all about integration, show it as a totally normal thing without making a big deal out of it. 

NATHANIEL: So what you're saying is that Universal Soldier is going to remain your gayest movie.

EMMERICH: [Laughs] 

I guess Universal Soldier (1992) will finally have to step down once Stonewall (2015) is a reality.


Mark Your Calendars

Here's what's coming up for the rest of April in which I try to finish everything pending and deliver two festivals and new Oscar predictions. It's going to be an exciting/jampacked three weeks...

Anne Marie & Diana will be reporting from Los Angeles

April 15th Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Letter (1940)
Bette Davis stars in this classic noir nominated for 7 Oscars. Which shot will you choose? [Available on: Netflix | Amazon | iTunes Rental]

Nathaniel, Glenn, Andrew, Jason, & Diana reporting from New York

April 20th SMACKDOWN 2003. Happy Easter!
This is my new deadline. I know it's been months

April 20th PODCAST RESURRECTED. Happy Easter!
Nathaniel, Katey, Nick, and Joe begin another chatty season with Noah and more [iTunes]

April 22nd Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Pocahontas (1995) 
Revisit Disney's undervalued 1995 musical for Earth Day. Which shot will you choose? [Available on: Netflix Instant Watch | Amazon Instant | iTunes Rental]

April 24th-30th Mean Girls 10th Anniversary Theme Week
Daily lunches with the plastics at North Shore High

April 24th-30th APRIL FOOLISH Oscar Predictions
New charts coming in all categories to start our wild-eyed golden lusting all over again for the new year. Who will compete this year? We'll know in the fall but will take some wild stabs now.



A Year With Kate: Holiday (1938)

Episode 15 of 52 as Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order.

In which Katharine Hepburn is named Box Office Poison, which might be the best thing that could have happened to her.


Practically all of the major studios are burdened with stars--whose public appeal is negligible--receiving tremendous salaries necessitated by contractual obligations...

Among these players, whose dramatic ability is unquestioned but whose box office draw is nil, can be numbered Mae West, Edward Arnold, Garbo, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, and many, many others... Hepburn turned in excellent performances in 'Stage Door' and 'Bringing Up Baby' but both pictures died."

Reading that “wake up call” on the morning of May 3rd, 1938 had to sting. The Manhattan Independent Theatre Owners Association bought a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter and the Independent Film Journal to air its grievances, and the effects for Kate were immediate. Here’s how quickly the dominoes fell... 

Click to read more ...