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Wednesday
Dec172014

James Bond's Women, Frozen in Time?

TFE welcomes back its friend and resident 007 expert Deborah with a statistical investigation brought on that recent "Spectre" press conference. If you love Bond Girls or Bellucci, and who doesn't?, read on - Editor

With the announcement earlier this month that Monica Bellucci had been cast in the forthcoming Bond film, Spectre, the media has recently been replete with headlines like “James Bond finally falls for a woman his own age” It was the oft-repeated “finally” that put me in an analytic mood. Is this really the first time (“finally”) that Bond has been with a woman his own age? How often has there been a really large age disparity?

I decided to analyze each movie so I could derive some statistics. James Bond is almost always with two or more women per film, but we can generally identify the “main” and “secondary” woman. I decided, for the sake of my own sanity, to disregard however many other women there might be, with the following exceptions: You Only Live Twice has three women of almost equal importance. Meanwhile, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, and The Living Daylights give us only one important woman each. Sure, Bond made love to other women in each film, but they had little screen time and were strictly fly-by-night. Let’s not trouble ourselves.

First question first...

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Wednesday
Dec172014

Female Screenwriter Tops 2014 Black List

Manuel here to share some of the best unproduced screenplays written by women (according to industry insiders).

The Black List, now in its tenth iteration, compiles an annual list of the most liked unproduced screenplays. Since 2004, some of the screenplays featured on here have gone on to become Oscar-winning films like Argo, Juno, and The King’s Speech, as well as modest successes like Lars and the Real Girl, Charlie Wilson’s War and 50/50. Even current Oscar-favorite The Imitation Game topped the list in 2011. Other titles like Recount, Things We Lost in the Fire, The Beaver and Snow White and the Huntsman have been featured. That is to say, it’s quite a mixed bag (this year includes a screenplay for Wonka, for example, “a dark, reimagining of the Willy Wonka story beginning in World War II and culminating with his takeover of the chocolate factory,” which… well, to each their own).

This is the first year a screenplay written by a woman has topped the list:

CATHERINE THE GREAT by Kristina Lauren Anderson
Sophia Augusta takes control of her life, her marriage, and her kingdom becoming Russia’s most celebrated and beloved monarch: Catherine the Great.

In terms of casting my mind immediately went to Keira Knightley but that might be the Anna Karenina flashbacks. Such beautiful, gorgeously designed flashbacks! While female monarch films (including former Black List entries, Grace of Monaco and The Other Boleyn Girl) have not been outright hits, wouldn't you love to see this on screen with... Alicia Vikander? Diane Kruger? Rebecca Hall? Who would you go with?

Though perhaps, like Elizabeth, this film would do well to introduce us to a fresh, exciting talent. A tall order, I know.

Three other female screenwriters made the Top Ten with decidedly genre entries: Aether (by Krysty Wilson-Cairns) is set in a near future London where a revolutionary technology can record sounds hours after they were made; Situation Comedy (by Cat Vasko) is about a young woman who stumbles into a mysterious courtyard where she is transported into a sitcom-like universe, becoming a major character on this “TV show,” and Tau (by Noga Landau) is about a woman held captive in the futuristic smart house of a serial kidnapper. Sadly, the rest of the list does not bear out that early promise. The full list of 70 scripts shared only features four other scripts written by women.

Do any of these films feel like the next Juno (still the most high profile female-written Black List vetted script)? Do you have any better suggestions as to who would/should play Catherine should Anderson’s film be produced?

Tuesday
Dec162014

Open Thread & Roundtable Madness

I have been comically beset by obstacles this year so even though I'm roughly three weeks behind, I have to laugh a little at the strange stumbles and ouchy falls and just go... okay, well then. This is an interesting view of the floor! (apologiez: Oscar chart editing functions are somewhat on the fritz. trying for workarounds to fix)

Angelina Jolie talking about directing plane crashes and visual effects. Mike Leigh, hilariously also in this shot.

One of the victims of this impossible season for me at least has been THR's roundtables. I literally haven't watched a single one of those sometimes highly enjoyable if aggravating celeb gatherings. Not even the Actress Roundtable! (I'm certain it was its vibe of "The Amy Adams Show: Episode 5"  that killed my will to press play on the only day I had 50 minutes free on weeks ago. Important distinction: Amy Adams the actress is often very exciting to watch. Amy Adams the celebrity is like wallpaper.)

So consider this an open thread in which you can complain about all the Oscar stories we haven't covered this past couple of weeks (the charts WILL be updates tomorrow, damnit) and which exact minutes of these roundtables you would recommend that everyone including your host here must watch RIGHT NOW. The Hollywood Reporters six awards season roundtables to date follow. All five plus hours of them in case you've missed one. Or all six like me.  Along with the videos after the jump are the single questions per roundtable that I am pretending they answered...

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Michael C here to look at an embattled new wide release. 

Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is so dead in the water, so consistently baffling in its choices, that it is difficult to know where to begin. How about the simple fact that when one is adapting the Old Testament there is no getting around God? 

Gods and Kings doesn’t go so far as to omit God altogether. The Lord is present (sort of) in the form of a petulant eight-year old child who first appears from behind the burning bush to issue vague marching orders to Moses. What Scott and his quartet of screenwriters do attempt is an end-run around the almighty in the form of an ill-considered attempt to wedge the Book of Exodus into the Batman Begins mold where all the miraculous events are brought down to Earth with realistic explanations, or at least semi-plausible interpretations.

Is God really talking to Moses or is Moses talking to himself because his exile knocked a screw loose? Does God intervene at the Red Sea or did the Jews get lucky with a fortuitous low tide? [more...]

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Makeup & Hairstyling: The Elephantine Origin Story (and this year's finalists since we must)

It's history time, kids! Gather round. Did you know that The Elephant Man, currently on Broadway with Bradley Cooper, is indirectly responsible for the Academy's makeup Oscar? No, not that kind of make up Oscar ... though the Academy gives those all the time, too (why, hello Ms. Julianne Moore "Ms. February 2015"!) and maybe Bradley Cooper will get one of those someday?

what's that? u think this intro was an excuse to post a photo of shirtless Bra---FINE! don't judge.

I digress. In the stage version of The Elephant Man the lead actor traditionally performs while wearing no special makeup; he merely acts deformity. But that stylization hasn't yet been tried on film. When it came time to make the film version in 1980, David Lynch, no stranger to depicting deformity without prosthetics -- deformity of the soul at least -- opted for makeup effects. People bitched about the lack of Oscar recognition since The Elephant Man was an Oscar hit (8 nominations) and the very next year we had our category! Unfortunately for the The Elephant Man's team Christopher Tucker and Wally Schneiderman and all, it was too late. Those makeup artists never won a Makeup Oscar or even the other kind of Make up Oscar for overdue peeps.

Once there was an official category a young pony-tailed prosthetics genius named Rick Baker immediately began his relentless reign, hogging 11 nominations and 7 statues starting with An American Werewolf in London. The Makeup prize continued on its weirdly lyncathropic, excruciatingly unstable number of nominee (0,2,3,4) effects-obsessed path for decades thereafter.

UNTIL...

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Kendrick Sings and Sings Some More

Manuel here to give you two new-ish videos with which to feast on if you’re famished for some Anna Kendrick. It’s probably unnecessary to remind you that Anna Kendrick has become the poster gal for movie musicals. In a stretch of 8 months she’ll have premiered The Last Five Years, Into the Woods and Pitch Perfect 2. We’ve already done a YES/NO/MAYBE SO for Into the Woods and for Pitch Perfect 2 and while I’d love to write one up for The Last Five Years, I’m afraid I’m too much of a YES to nitpick about this beautiful trailer. Plus, snap/blind judgements that come from trailers don’t work as well when the film’s already been seen and reviewed. Case in point: Nathaniel already reviewed it back at Toronto. back in Toronto.

Anna sings twice after the jump...

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