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Monday
May112015

Grace and Frankie S1:E3 "The Dinner"

Anne Marie here, taking over recap duties for an episode! In Episode 2, physical possessions were divvied up for the divorce (for now), so Episode 3 is when we focus on feelings and family. Grace and Frankie, suddenly devoid of social obligations and artistic inspiration, decide to combat their own sense of irrelevence by getting jobs. Grace returns to the beauty company she founded, now run by her daughter Brianna, only to discover that Brianna has steered the company in a new direction. 

Elsewhere, Frankie attempts to interview at an old folks home, but is mistaken for a potential client. For most of this epiosde, Grace & Frankie's storylines felt a bit too much like a B plot from Sutton Foster's age-and-cliche-obsessed show Younger on TVLand (is anybody else watching Younger?). But on the other hand, the episode does culminate in Grace having a meltdown in a supermarket and Frankie stealing a pack of cigarettes like a middle-aged Thelma & Louise.

Meanwhile, on our favorite Law & Order/The West Wing crossover fanfiction, Jed Bartlett & Jack McCoy Robert & Sol are enjoying the honeymoon phase of their incipient relationship...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May112015

Beauty vs Beast: Daddy vs Mommy

Jason from MNPP hoping your hangover from partying hard into the wee hours of Mother's Day is not too harsh. I know how it goes - when your Mom demands more shots, ya gotta do more shots. And speaking of Motherhood! As Nathaniel just told you last week this month's Supporting Actress Smackdown belongs to the year 1979, and when they get to that on May 31st a really big piece of that puzzle will be Meryl Streep's performance in Kramer vs Kramer, which brought her her first Oscar. Kramer vs Kramer... Beauty vs Beast... it's a natural fit! Consider this an appetizer to the Smackdown main course...

Whose team are you on?

PREVIOUSLY  Last week we also took on the breaking of familial bonds, albeit in a galaxy a bit further away than our own, when we pitted Luke Skywalker against his helmeted Papa Darth. Well you're all a bunch of evil Empire lovers becauve Vader strutted off (imagine John Williams' marching music here) with just under 70% of the vote Said Steven:

"The Dark Side is strong with this one."

Monday
May112015

Portman's Career is Revving Up

Manuel here to talk about everyone's favorite black swan and share some casting news. Oh, it’s also Bike to Work Week and so here’s Natalie Portman on a bike to get your Monday started.

She’ll probably need it as she’s clearly gearing (see what I did there?) for a busy 2015. Not only is her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness premiering at Cannes (albeit as a special screening selection) but her much-delayed film Jane Got a Gun will finally be released this coming September, but she’s also in Malick’s Knight of Cups (and presumably in Weightless) though it’s unclear when either of those films will be in front of us regular moviegoers.

And if these latest casting news pan out, she’ll be a busy gal soon (those of us who worries the Marvel Cinematic Universe and/or motherhood would keep Natalie away from us for too long had nothing to worry):

First up, she’s apparently signed on to play Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex, which Marielle Heller is in talks to direct. Those of us who haven’t yet seen Diary of a Teenage Girl (read Michael's review from Sundance) are dying to see it and we’re happy Heller and Portman are in talks to work together. Also, it’s about time RBG gets the big-screen treatment, no?

Portman is also in talks to star in Annihilation, a film adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s twisty sci-fi novel which centers on four female explorers in an unknown place known as Area X. And, true to her career so far, Portman is probably drawn to this film given who’s behind the camera: Ex-Machina’s Alex Garland (which I've yet to see but I am dying to if only so I can listen to the latest TFE podcast!)

Two promising projects with two promising directorial upstarts alongside many directorial and producing gigs. Are you ready for a Portmanful 2015? Have you read Annihilation and do you have any thoughts on who should join the all-female cast in its film adaptation?

 

Monday
May112015

Tra-Link-La

Deadline RIP character actress Elizabeth Wilson from stage, tv, and film (Roz in Nine to Five & Mrs Braddock inThe Graduate!) passed away at 94
Bryan Singer James McAvoy as Professor X finally going bald of X-Men: Apocalypse
Towleroad Natalie Portman as Ruth Baader Ginsburg?! 
CHUD the ongoing drama of Jennifer Lawrence's paycheck for the upcoming Passengers, a sci-fi drama with Chris Pratt. She's not budging on her 20 million,which is double Pratt's salary though he's the lead. Will Sony cave to save face from all those wage disparity complaints after leaked emails?
Boy Culture tells us about a new LGBT movie That's Not Us about three couples on a weekend getaway. Sounds good
Empire Charlize Theron to star as a spy in The Coldest City, based on a graphic novel
Pajiba highlights from the Alex Garland's Ex Machina AMA 
Antagony & Ecstasy another fine take on Ex Machina 

Small Screen
Coming Soon NBC picked up a series based on Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. I know it was probably impossible to top Samantha Morton's precog but the series will focus on a precog only a male precog zzzz. No offense Stark Sands who I've enjoyed in other things!
/Film ... and that's not the only movie becoming a TV series. Next season will also give us serialized versions ofUncle Buck and Limitless 

Cannes News
Cannes Mother of the French New Wave Agnès Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7, Vagabond, The Gleaners and I) to receive an Honorary Palme D'Or. Yaaas.
Film Doctor UK advice for filmmakers attending Cannes -- this is from last year but there are lots of practical thoughts that apply to any year, non filmmakers and other smaller festivals, too
Guardian with Gaspar Noé's Love on the way a look back at the festival's history of erotic cinema
Awards Daily Sasha geers up for Cannes but still seems hung up on last year's awards race dramas

Stage
Playbill looks back at very tight Best Musical races from the past (West Side Story vs. The Music Man, etcetera) with Fun Home, Something Rotten, and An American in Paris battling it out on Tony supremacy this season
Gold Derby Outer Critics Circle Awards. With Fun Home ineligible American in Paris snatches up trophies. Kristin Chenoweth prevails in the very tight Best Actress race (will Tony go for Chita, Cheno or Kelli O'Hara?)

Showtune to Go
With American in Paris celebrating its Tony nominations, why not a little Gene Kelly to brighten your Monday? Here's Kelly doing "Tra La La." Hollywood never had a more cheekily charming male movie star, give or take Cary Grant.

Sunday
May102015

Podcast: Is Ex-Machina Great or Slightly Flat?

Katey Rich rejoins Joe Reid and Nathaniel R to discuss Alex Garland's buzzy sci-fi artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina, now A24's biggest box office hit. Amir Soltani, from Hello Cinema & TFE, guest stars. This podcast is filled with many spoilers about a surprising movie so please see the movie before listening, if you haven't made it to the theater yet.

Running Time - 43 Minutes
00:01 Intros, Randomness, Cannes project
06:00 Ex Machina - Misleading promos vs going in cold
11:22 [SPOILERS]  - Mood versus Substance, sexual issues and slavery metaphor, Princess and Mad Scientist and Frankenstein Tropes, seduction and porn profiles. And we're split on the ending. [/SPOILERS]
29:45 What else we're excited about this summer
36:20 Reader Questions: Bald women, Oscar Isaac
41:50 Goodbyes

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes.  


Further Reading (Related/Referenced)Nick's Cannes Jury / 1995 Retrospective; Michael's Ex Machina Review; Nathaniel's Oscar Isaac Tweet; Stephen Whitty's The Third Man Tweet; Ava's Drawings & Sessions; Ricki & The Flash trailer

Ex Machina

Sunday
May102015

Review: Hot Pursuit 

This article was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

If you look really closely while watching Sofia Vergara act, you can sometimes catch little one frame jokes the animators have snuck in. You surely wouldn't be looking for subtlety if you sit down for Hot Pursuit, but perhaps you wouldn't be expecting a full-blown cartoon? In this new buddy comedy from director Anne Fletcher (Step Up, The Guilt TripThe Proposal) everything and everyone is broad, broader, broadest. And not just Vergara as America's favorite Colombian broad. Think The Proposal's strange dancing campfire scene between Sandra Bullock and Betty White. No, no. Not broad enough. Broader. Broadest! 

Sofia Vergara plays tempestuous Sofia Vergara while Reese Witherspoon plays Officer Cooper, a well meaning super uptight cop. It's the classic odd couple dynamic showbiz has relied on since the camera was invented. These types are comedies are never reinventing the wheel, nor should they be expected too, so the test is always in how funny they are and how good the star chemistry is. Hot Pursuit will immediately be compared to The Heat not just because it stars two women (gasp!) but because of this uptight/wild dynamic and a similar crime situation with dirty cops and a drug lord who keeps escaping the law.

1. Will this odd couple who immediately hate each other learn to work together before the end credits roll?  

2. Will Vergara & Witherspoon survive the McCarthy & Bullock comparisons?

The answers are after the jump...

Click to read more ...