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Friday
Mar272015

Deadpool Pulls a Burt Reynolds. (Don't Tell Archer.)

Ryan Reynolds posted the first "official" photo of himself (presumably) in costume for the forthcoming Deadpool movie, which is due in approximately 11 months (expected to open in February 2016). The synopsis goes like so:

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

A gazillion bonus points for doing it so cheekily a la Burt Reynolds on a bear rug because costume reveals are usually SO unimaginative.

Burt Reynolds super-fan Archer Sterling would approve. Or be very jealous. 

But isn't it weird that Ryan Reynolds, who obviously works hard to maintain one of the most spectacular bodies in the movies, keeps getting covered for the movies that require men have great physiques - i.e. superhero movies? First it was that all CGI costume for Green Lantern (blargh) and now a full body suit with literally not one square inch of flesh showing. 

Burt Reynolds would not approve of the modesty (neither would Archer come to think of it) and if you are very young or tune out anytime anyone discusses stars from before your time, you'll see why after the NSFW jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar272015

TCM Classic Film Festival Presents The Sound Of Music's 50th Anniversary!

Anne Marie counting up her favorite things from opening night of TCM Classic Film Fest.

The Hollywood Hills were alive with The Sound Of Music last night. Turner Classic Movies kicked off the 6th Annual TCMFF with a 50th Anniversary screening of 20th Century Fox's musical blockbuster at TCL Chinese Theater. Dame Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer walked the red carpet (under umbrellas because they agree with me that it is hot out for March), before settling down for a special discussion with former Academy president Sid Ganis before the film. 

It's amazing that after fifty years apart, two screen stars can still have such beautiful chemistry. Andrews and Plummer affectionately bantered. At one point, Plummer worried that the love story could have been "too mawkish," to which Dame Andrews replied, "You made it less saccharine." (This is possibly not an opinion shared by the audience, as many mooning sighs echoed through the theater when Captain Von Trapp sang "Something Good.")

Seeing how Andrews and Plummer are on the tail end of a whirlwind promotional tour for the film's semicentennial, fans were a little nervous that the two legends had run out of stories to tell. Fortunately, it turns out that not only could they surprise us - they could still surprise each other. While discussing his theater career, Christopher Plummer mentioned that he'd been offered the Broadway show before the movie started casting. Dame Andrews, as disbelieving as the audience, could only ask, "Really??"

After the discussion ended (to a standing ovation), 20th Century Fox's new digital 4K restoration screened. Like last year, TCM chose a major Rogers & Hammerstein musical with a storied restoration history. The Sound Of Music has always been treated well by the people who carefully restored it, but certain small controversies crop up. How dark is the gazebo scene supposed to be? What color is Maria's party dress? ("Very dark because the actors were laughing," and "light blue," for the record.) Small details add up, but the army of people who worked on this latest restoration managed to have it both ways. By using the DP-approved restored 65mm print, they were able to conform as close as possible to the original look. But by adding digital technology, they were able to remove color anomalies and print fading. The result is a look so good that gazebos cast soft shadows, Maria can dance in a soft blue dress, and when she splashes in the fountain, you can actually see the drops of water.

If you couldn't make it to Hollywood to celebrate, never fear. 20th Century Fox is releasing a special edition Blu Ray later in the month. And for true fans of The Sound of Music, the beautiful 4K restoration shown at TCMFF last night will be screened in theaters on April 19th and 20th.

For more updates from TCM Classic Film Festival, follow Anne Marie on Twitter. And don't forget to vote for the movie you want her to cover!

Friday
Mar272015

Posterized: Noah Baumbach

While We're Young, a two couples collide comedy with Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver opens today. It's the 7th official feature film from 45 year old writer/director Noah Baumbach.

His first feature, Kicking and Screaming (1995), starring a who's who of hot indie actors from the mid 90s (shout out to chris eigeman and parker posey!) came out a full 20 years ago so he got started young. He got started just in time too. His brand of talkie neurotic intimate comedy burst forth during the 90s, the golden age for the American indie. Perhaps no one knew it was the golden age for indies while living through it but in hindsight it definitely was. So many directors we still enjoy burst forth in those particularly fertile circumstances of the marketplace.

So with that one in theaters, let's look back at his first six films as director (he wrote or co-wrote all of them, too). The marketing departments got really hung up on all white posters for him for awhile... but it suits his films somehow and the Greenberg poster is straight up ingenious "he's got a lot on his mind" with its empty space. So... Kicking & Screaming (1995), Mr Jealousy (1997), The Squid and the Whale (2005, a hit, making about twice as much as his films usually do), Margot at the Wedding (2007), Greenberg (2010), and Frances Ha (2012... released in 2013). 

We haven't a clue what happened to him between 1997 and 2005 (quarter-life crisis?) though there was one additional film in 1997 that he apparently took his name off of called "Highball" which could explain the coming fallow period and in that long stretch he also co-wrote Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic and made a short film.

How many have you seen and which is your favorite?
 

Thursday
Mar262015

The Rise and Fall of DreamWorks Animation, Part 2: Fall

UPDATE 3/29: Well! Now Home has gone and ruined my entire beautiful narrative arc by wildly outperforming even the most rosily optimistic predictions during its opening weekend, with an estimated $54 million. With that total in its pocket, even under the worst imaginable scenario, it should still glide past $100 million in the United States with ease - $150 mil is certainly in play - and combined with its sterling overseas performance so far, it shouldn't have any problem turning a profit for DreamWorks. The day of reckoning has been put off.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. As DreamWorks's only 2015 release, the studio won't be able to build up any momentum, but it gives the powers that be a good chance to breathe easily and take a good long time to re-work their future plans. Hopefully the right lessons are learned from this ("Non-white girls can sell movies, too") and not the easier wrong ones ("That absolute piece of crap made us money! We don't ever have to try again!), and hopefully it will encourage this and all other animation companies to experiment a little bit more with new properties instead of just retrenching to sequels every time someone says "boo". -Tim

Tim here. Last week, we took a tour through the peak years of DreamWorks Animation, during which time the House That Jeffrey Katzenberg's Hatred of His Old Bosses at Disney Built established itself as the biggest gorilla in American feature animation. And as 2010 dawned, the studio was on the verge of a remarkable achievement. That year, DreamWorks released three feature-length theatrical films – the most any studio had ever produced. It proved to be a great year to do so, an extraordinary year for animation: five of the year's top ten films at both the domestic and worldwide box office were animated, an unmatched record.

That, of course, is exactly the problem. Having perfected a factory for producing animated features that anyone could follow, DreamWorks was as responsible as any studio for the glut of animation that hit in 2009 and has continued largely unabated ever since. By making its products too ubiquitous, the studio was making them routine and increasingly easy to ignore.

Not that it was apparent from the first of the year's releases, How to Train Your Dragon, which netted DreamWorks its best reviews ever and remains its highest-grossing Stateside release without the word "Shrek" in the title. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar262015

A Glorious Geeky Gospel-Infused Pop Culture Collision

Grant Gustin & Jesse L Martin in "The Flash"I wasn't aware that Jesse L Martin, one of the best singing actors, was hoping to finance a musical short for himself but he is. The world collectively fell for his voice on the Original Cast Recording of "Rent." David E Kelley let him sing fairly regularly on "Ally McBeal" (those bar scenes made full use of the many musical alums in Ally McBeal's cast) and then he reprised his star-making role for the ill-conceived Rent movie. Since then he tends to be cast in non-singing roles -- even in musical shows like "Smash"! He's currently the adoptive father / police detective hero on CW's hit "The Flash" and he doesn't get to sing on that show either.

But listen to this -- here he is with two of his current co-stars on "The Flash" (Carlos Valdes and Rick Cosnett) to sing the theme song for Joss Whedon's "Firefly" It's a thank you to Joss who donated to their collective kickstarter project. A fourth co-star is also involved in this would be short (Patrick Sabongui who plays the incidentally gay police captain boss on the series) but he's not in this thank you video. Maybe he sings, too?

Let this double as a cry for action aimed at the CW writers room: The Flash obviously and desperately needs a musical episode. Make it happen in Season 2. To its very entertaining credit your show already embraces "anything can happen" insanity (Gorilla Grodd, hi!) so if Grant Gustin can't sing, just give the other guys all the songs. Make it work.

UPDATE: Grant Gustin can very much sing. (Sorry, I stopped watching "Glee" before he arrived and have never regretted the decision). A musical episode must happen.

Why are actors always so multi-talented? It's unfair. And wonderful.

Thursday
Mar262015

Best Limited or Cameo Role. The Women

In the imaginary awards ceremony we hold for the Film Bitch Awards each year (when: January through March; where: Nathaniel's brain and on this website) Missi Pyle as "Ellen Abbott" announces the nominees for the limited or cameo role categories. With three or four sharp scenes in Gone Girl she's too big for this category but she's good TV, you must agree. Getting the balance right for this category is tricky. Which roles are too big to fit? Many of the people who immediately popped to mind this year as "cameos" were really were more than that. Oprah Winfrey is great in that crucial opening expose about voter suppression in Selma but she also marches, gets arrested and her throughline doubles as the whole narrative arc of the movie, so we couldn't really include her. Lindsay Duncan in Birdman, was another close call, but we opted to include due to only two scenes even though she's the focus.

We take this seriously y'all. As proof look at all these fine actresses we were considering... 

Top left to right by row: Karin Myrenberg (Force Majeure), Charlotte Rampling (Young & Beautiful), Lesley Manville (Mr Turner); Jena Malone (Inherent Vice); Alison Pill (Snowpiercer); Lindsay Duncan (Birdman); Hong Chau (Inherent Vice); Sela Ward (Gone Girl); Anamaria Marinca (Fury); Menna Trusslar (Pride); Tilda Swinton (Grand Budapest Hotel); Annie Funke (A Most Violent Year); Uma Thurman (Nymphomaniac Vol. 1); Casey Rose Wilson (Gone Girl); Kathleen Rose Perkins (Gone Girl); Karina Fernandez (Pride)

And here are the nominees, wrapping up nominations in all categories for the 15th annual Film Bitch Awards. The nomination stats are at the bottom of the "best scenes" page if you're interested. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in all categories will be handed out this weekend.