Jay-Z, not content to let James Franco get all the "i'm not a ___, I'm actually an artist!" action, recently performed his new single "Picasso Baby" at MoMA for six hours (with breaks) as invited guests like art world giants, cool dancers, and several actors (Alan Cumming, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver, Rosie Perez, etcetera) sat down across from him or stood on the sidelines to watch. The "art piece" (i.e. single / music video) really ought to have a "Jay-Z. Featuring Marina Abramovic" style byline since the rapper owes the basics of the concept to the performance artist who enters barefoot and touches heads with him. At least he gives her lots of footage in the video by way of homage.
Sound on Sight has a massive post about famous ongoing director/muse collaborations: Liv & Ingmar, Lynch & Dern, Fassbinder & Schygulla, etcetera...
Empire Chris Evans is becoming a director with 1:30 Train, a romantic caper about a woman trying to catch the 1:30 train (with the help of Chris Evans, who will co-star)
Pajiba celebrates the release of 2 Guns. "Boom, you've been Denzel'd"
In Contention 15 awards players still looking for distribution including one I hadn't heard of Tracks with Mia Wasikowska crossing the desert with John Curran (The Painted Veil) directing. I've been thinking that the Best Actress chart is leaning a little 'woman of a certain age' for Oscar's taste (if not for mine) so maybe Mia and are peers are just in hiding right now?
David Poland says that the bullshit myth is that originals don't make big money at the box office and it's only sequels that did. He backs it up with titles.
Variety Whoa. are the Weinsteins going to get Miramax back. A merger may be in the works
Cinema Blend on the list of possible Bale/Batman replacements for that Superman/Batman team up movie. Surprisingly they're not all super famous with Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Max Martini (Pacific Rim) both on the list. Weirdly there appears to be little thought of Joseph Gordon-Levitt despite that The Dark Knight Rises Robin set up.
You guys, I can't decide if this "What if Woody Allen directed The Wolverine" is funny or not. Help me decide.
I think I'm in the place of LOL without the OL part. So, maybe not? I like it in concept!
/Film Warner Bros is still trying to get that Akira Without Japanese People abomination made.
MNPP The Golden Girls dollhouse? Amazing!
Signs and Sirens hates on Blue Jasmine. My review will be up tomorrow.
Coming Soon Josh Trank says the rumors about Miles Teller being Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four are not true. Good -- I like Miles Teller a lot but he's about 90% wrong for that role -- but it's going to be terrible anyway. Why must Fantastic Four movies be so terrible?
Finally, I feel I've been remiss in not linking up to Emily Nussbaum's great great rescue piece on "Sex and The City" in The New Yorker. People have been discussing it online for a few days but I hadn't mentioned it. I'm so glad that a writer as scalpel-sharp as Nussbaum is a fan and performs this reputation resuscitation operation. It's too bad that the show's rep suffered after the two theatrical features drifted towards becoming what people always accused the show of being. Which it never truly was. I especially love her (correct) assertion that Carrie Bradshaw was the first female anti-hero on television. Carrie was of course reviled for it whereas her male counterparts in terrible behavior are regularly championed by fans and critics. I know people probably think I harp on gender politics too much here at the blog but what's happened to Sex & The City is a classic example of sexism at work. Canons are one of the best places to see the power of the heteronormative patriarchy thrown into obvious relief. "The greatest this!" and "The greatest that!" lists and the people who make them like critics organizations and awards shows and such often dismiss "feminine" identified films, tv, genre or entertainments as lesser than merely be excluding them from the conversation. But if you can't include "Sex and the City" as one of the shows that was instrumental in ushering in television's golden age -- just as crucial as "The Sopranos" -- you just weren't watching closely enough.
Dancin' Dan here with the news that made my week: Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking play A Raisin in the Sun is coming back to Broadway. This news alone might not necessarily be cheer-worthy since it was just revived in 2004 but other than one of the great American plays back on the boards it's the starry cast attached to it that brings the excitement. Denzel Washington will lead the ensemble in the role of Walter Lee Younger which was played by Sidney Poitier on both stage and screen. So Denzel's Training Day Oscar speech continues to be true.
Joining Denzel will be no less than three Oscar or Tony-nominated actresses: Sophie Okonedo (as Walter's wife Ruth, originally played by Ruby Dee), Anika Noni Rose, and Diahann Carroll (as Younger family matriarch Lena, most recently played on Broadway by Phylicia Rashad).
Taking a page from Cicely Tyson's book and returning to the stage after 30 years, Carroll is certainly my main draw here, despite Denzel's wonderful Tony-winning turn in August Wilson's Fences which was his last Broadway performance. He said he wanted to do this because his wife was outpacing him on the theater front and he wanted to catch up. Love that healthy competition!
Despite the play's acclaim, the original production of A Raisin in the Sun won none of the four Tony Awards for which it was nominated (it was a crowded year, with The Miracle Worker, The Best Man, and Toys in the Attic all being major players), and while the 2004 revival missed the Best Revival of a Play Tony (which went to Henry IV), it did score nods for its three main actresses, including a win for Phylicia Rashad.
Fun fact: Diahann Carroll was the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (for No Strings in 1962). Can she pull the same trick as Rashad and add one for Drama to her mantle? Can Washington finally catch up to Poitier? Will the third time be the charm for this gem of American drama? We'll find out in April 2014.
Have you seen the new poster for Lee Daniels' The Butler? Here it is.
I like it and here's why: It looks more like a Lee Daniels movie than that stately original poster. The first poster could have been for any movie that was going the prestige FYC route. It could have been a film made by anyone, and probably someone less crazy than Lee Daniels. That's a safe assumption, statistically! Whether you love or hate his movies -- three to date: Shadowboxer, Precious, The Paperboy -- you have to admit that they're non-generic. They don't feel like they were made by committee. At all.
The silly war over the period drama's title concluded too quickly for me to finish my "Suggested Alternate Title" joke post (since I was doing mock posters. I promise it was funny. sniffle) but PERSONALITY is why I like the new poster and the retitling to Lee Daniels' The Butler.
The more people hear your name, you know? It's why hip hop artists say their name so much in their songs. It's why Tyler Perry puts his name before every title. It might be vanity, sure, but it's also savvy business. Once your famous enough you can do this even if you aren't the director which kinda sucks for the guy who did that job - see Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) which is actually a Henry Selick movie!
I've always wondered why studio marketing doesn't try to push director's names more. In this modern era where even amateurs understand the basics of personal branding, the studios are not capitalizing on or trying to build fanbases for their directors which seems like both a dumb and a dick move. Even a director as constantly successful as James Cameron often gets the "From the Director of..." without his name attached in commercials which is just stupid if you ask me. Everyone who has a unique vision, even if a lot of people hate that vision, should be trying to build a fanbase.
When Marvel Comics first introduced Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four to the world in the 1960s, they sparked a comic book revolution. No longer were superheroes the new gods, indestructible and unfailingly heroic Others from distant planets, lands, times (see: Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America) or mysterious 1% recluses (Batman) but something closer to heightened neighbors. Your classmate or coworker or mailman might be a mutant. You might stumble into capes or spandex yourself, should you cross paths with gamma rays or a radioactive spider. The Silver Age heroes had to hold down jobs, keep secrets, and navigate angsty romances or complicated family dynamics. If superheroes were real they'd be hounded by the tabloid press and paparazzi.
In other words... "Superheroes - they're just like us!"
But some super powers are far from relatable. This summer indestructibility has raised its dull head again as the chief power of both the Man of Steel and The Wolverine. This power lacks the proxy pizazz that comes with cooler mutations like flying, telekinesis, web-slinging, flaming on, and so on. Indestructibility just isn't inherently interesting, or at least not visually rich, good only for sticking around. And Wolverine, the world's favorite furry angry Canadian sure does, loitering about the cinema and historical signposts of the ages, too. [more...]
Guess who's strapping in for another Oscar night adventure? Ellen Degeneres that's who! Just announced: the comedienne and talkshow host will do her second solo gig as Oscar Host this coming March 2nd, 2014. She first hosted, as you'll recall, for the 2006/2007 Oscar ceremony which saw The Departed crowned Best Picture.
I'm glad Ellen is back for round two. You?
Since we all know Ellen loves to dance I hope there's either a Mary Poppins/Saving Mr Banks inspired "Steppin' Time" number in which various movies are represented -- you know how that song keeps changing to mirror whatever it's celebratin' -- or she does a group dance with the cast of American Hustle since they're already getting their boogie on.
Any other proposals as to what Ellen should do on Oscar night?