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Wednesday
Apr092014

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 ...

Wednesday
Apr092014

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.

Wednesday
Apr092014

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...

April 10th TCM FILM FESTIVAL BEGINS
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]

April 16th TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL BEGINS
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.

 

Wednesday
Apr092014

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.


WAKE UP! HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS

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 ...

Wednesday
Apr092014

Link, Don't Kill My Vibe

AVClub Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966) finally comes to Criterion
/Film who is Holly Hunter playing in Batman vs. Superman. Speculation continues
Empire Wither Cate Blanchett post Blue Jasmine. After Carol it looks like The Dig is it, an archeological period piece true story based on the novel by John Preston. Directed by Oscar-winning Susanne Bier (Brothers). Yay!
THR nasty legal battle between an actress who felt coerced into nudity and Cinemax. Wasn't she aware of their nickname "Skinemax"?

Film School Rejects on Drew Goddard and Sinister Six (which groups all of Spider-Man's greatest villains together). FSR are predicting the inevitable collapse of the superhero genre and it certainly does seem like oversaturation is arriving by 2016 or 2017 at the latest with no less three studios fast-tracking multi-film super universes to attempt to compete with Disney/Marvel's gazillion dollar franchise
The Guardian Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reuniting on the bigscreen for The Nest. My best friend still quotes Amy's line from Baby Mama all the time "You don't know my life!"
Variety talks to Roman Polanski about Venus in Fur, his actress wife, and why he won't be retiring 
Playbill Shirley Maclaine joining Glee. Too bad I haven't watched in years but I'm not about to return now. Sorry Shirl, love you!

'Run Away!'
Both of my former arch-enemies have new films on the way 
Empire Daniel Craig suddenly drops out of Renée Zellweger's possible comeback vehicle The Whole Truth, which was supposed to start filming right now. The Zeéeeee is still having trouble getting back out there.
In Contention Hilary Swank has not one but two Oscar plays for 2014: You're Not You (in which she plays a woman suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease) and The Homesman in which she transports crazy women across the States in the western helmed by Tommy Lee Jones. I'd bet on the latter (if not for Swank since the showy roles are probably the crazies) and if You're Not You is any good I'll steel myself for absurd category fraud since it sounds like Emmy Rossum is definitely her co-lead.

Today's Watch
Miss Anne Hathaway returns to us in all her singing starry glory, comically revamping hiphop songs lounge lizard style...

Wednesday
Apr092014

Mickey Rooney (RIP)

I came to the news of Mickey Rooney's passing late due to my offline vacation but it wouldn't be right to not mention it here at the musicals-loving The Film Experience. My first exposure to Mickey Rooney, as far as I remember, was Babes in Arms (1939) for which he was Oscar nominated at 19. I think my parents took us to see it at an awesome revival house in Detroit. Tweens and teenagers, who always fear being uncool, aren't supposed to love old black and white movies made many decades before they were born but cinephiles and/or musical-fanatics are a different breed and I had no shame whatsoever about seeking them out. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr082014

"Poor Ivy”: August: Osage County’s Underappreciated MVP

Here's Andrew to celebrate the release of last year's embattled August: Osage County newly arrived on DVD. Significant spoilers ahead.

Each year there's at least one film which wins middling to good reviews and manages Oscar nods but is promptly forgotten as soon as it's released. August: Osage County was 2013's victim of that unfortunate annual tradition. Sure, it earned those two acting nominations it seemed assured early on but no one was particularly interested in talking about any aspect of August: Osage County, but for its Oscar belly-flop elsewhere and the Oscar queen at the centre. Perhaps, it was an automated response to Meryl Streep usually being at the centre of films with little else to offer than her star turn (The Iron Lady, Julie & Julia, Music of the Heart, etcetera). It's a shame because the former awards’ hopeful had so much more to celebrate than just the fire-breathing matriarch in the middle.

The strongest asset was undoubtedly that excellent cast. Aside from Streep and Roberts, only a few players picked up significant praise and even then the one most deserving was the one afforded hardly any attention: Julianne Nicholson as middle-child Ivy.

Click to read more ...