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Entries in Angela Bassett (32)

Tuesday
Dec082015

Image Awards Love "Creed"

Some of the nominees and omissions from the NAACP Image Awards over the years have been truly bizarre. We chalk that up to it not being a film based organization and far more concerned with representation than the movies themselves. Though they are not an Oscar precursor in the traditional way, they do add another insight into which films people are thinking about at this time of year. We expect that Oscar will share their love of Creed. It led the nominations for movies and Michael B Jordan is even up for "Entertainer of the Year".

That's a distinction worth noting because he's the only one of the "Entertainer" nominees that's associatedly directly with the movies for this awards cycle. The rest (Pharell, Shonda & Viola, Misty Copeland) are clearly nominated for their contributions to music, television, and performing arts. 

The film nominees are...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep122015

AHS: Hotel Teaser

My name is Manuel and I have a theory:

American Horror Story Marketing > American Horror Story Show

This latest teaser is but a mere 30 seconds but can you imagine the full season of the upcoming Jessica Lange-less American Horror Story season keeping you as enthralled? [More...]

But then, Ryan Murphy has always been better at teasing than satisfying. His newest iteration of the horror anthology series (Hotel) premieres on October 7th and so we got this titillating teaser to whet our appetite. And boy did it! Highlights after the jump...

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Sunday
Aug022015

Podcast Smackdown (Pt 2) Nixon & Georgia & 1995 Takeaways

You've read the Smackdown proper and heard Part One of the companion podcast. Now we're wrapping things up with Part Two in which Nathaniel and guests discuss a movie they all loved (Georgia) and the most divisive movie of the batch (Nixon). Big thanks again to this month's panelists: Nick Davis (Nicks Flick Picks), Guy Lodge (Variety), Kevin O'Keeffe (Arts.Mic), Conrado Falco (Coco Hits NY) and Lynn Lee (The Film Experience)

Part 2: 39 Minutes
00:01 Mare Winningham and Georgia’s Screenplay
08:45 Oliver Stone’s excesses -- extremely split opinions on Nixon
19:15 Off-Oscar: Other performances we loved from 1995 and another round of Emma Thompson and Sense & Sensibility
30:00 Best Original Song ???
33:40 Final Thoughts, recommendations and takeaways

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes tomorrow.

Smackdown. Pt 2

Thursday
Jul162015

Women's Pictures - Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days

On April 29th, 1992, the Rodney King verdict set Los Angeles on fire. Over 6 days, crowds rioted in South Central LA, protesting the acquittal of four LAPD officers who had been videotaped beating a black man. This was not LA's first race riot, but it came at a fraught time for the city, when the skyscrapers that were supposed to signal the start of a new era of prosperity loomed over widening economic and social gaps. By May 4th, it was clear that though the riots had "officially" ended, they had left a scar on the psyche of the city. Over the next few years, that scar would surface in one of Los Angeles's most prominent exports: film. After the Rodney King riots ended, a series of scifi blockbusters - including Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days - took to the streets of LA to predict the worst for the city's future.

Strange Days (another collaboration between Kathryn Bigelow and ex-husband James Cameron) is part of a group of dystopian action thrillers that cropped up in the wake of the Rodney King Riots. Escape from LADemolition Man, and Strange Days used their futuristic settings to do what science fiction does best: they created an allegory for contemporary fears about violence, inequity, and police brutality. 

Los Angeles is a good setting for a dystopia. Unlike New York City, America's Melting Pot, where people from different socioeconomic backgrounds intermingle on the street, Los Angeles is more a series of villages connected by highways. In LA, communities whose names are synonymous with wealth and prestige set their gates a handful of miles from infamously poor neighborhoods. But the two worlds never meet.

According to the movies, only three groups travel between these separate-but-unequal islands: cops, criminals, and entertainers. Lenny Nero, the protagonist of Strange Days, is all three: an ex-cop turned con-man who sells recorded memories and emotions via a "SQUID" machine - data discs that play directly in your cerebral cortex. When an anonymous donor leaves Nero a clip of his friend's rape and murder on New Year's Eve 1999, Nero and his friend Mace (Angela Bassett) get pulled into a plot that involves murdered rappers, police coverups, music producers, and Nero's lost love (Juliette Lewis). But bubbling under this detective story is a growing sense of unrest between police and the populace.

James Cameron's screenplay sets up a lot of ideas - drug allegory, the nature of memory, police militarization, the right to riot, institutional racism - and it is Kathryn Bigelow's very heavy duty to sort through these themes while also keeping the film on track. Miraculously, she is mostly successful. Though the structure of the script sometimes lags under the weight of its own ideas, Bigelow keeps the film moving at a clipped pace. Her fascination with point of view also becomes literal in Strange Days. the SQUID machines record from first person POV, which Bigelow uses to occasionally comic, often thrilling, and (in one incredibly intense murder scene) chilling effect. By virtue of its technical difficulties, First Person POV can look gimmicky on film, but Bigelow overcomes the difficulties to instead stage a series of fantastic action pieces.

The only failure of the film is not in its setup or its action, but in its conclusion. The complex problems of racism and violence which had occasionally bubbled to the surface - mostly in a B plot surrounding Angela Bassett's character - are neatly solved at the end of the film, though this denoument does give one intense image: a SWAT team beating an unarmed woman. It's probably too much to ask for moral complexity from an action thriller. Though insipred by riots that had proved there were still no easy answers in reality, Strange Days is still a product of its genre; commodified violence for the sake of box office. 

This month on Women's Pictures...

7/23 - K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) - Hands down the most requested film after Point Break, this film follows Harrison Ford racing to prevent a nuclear holocaust via submarine. (Amazon Prime) (Netflix)

7/30 - The Hurt Locker (2008) - The film that put Bigelow's name down in history as the first female director to win the Academy Award is a thriller about a bomb squad in the Iraq War. (Amazon Prime)

Friday
Dec192014

Bag O' Links: Pitt, Cruella, Annie, Viola, Lisi, Potter, Etc...

We haven't done a link roundup in so long this one is super-duper-quadrupled size. Please to enjoy these articles or catch up with this news...

FAREWELL
NYT, BBCVariety remembers the great Italian actress Virna Lisi who has died at 78 years of age. Best known stateside for the Jack Lemmon comedy How To Murder Your Wife (1965), and maybe that iconic Esquire cover by George Lois (left) which has been homaged ever since, this baby cinephile right here writing to you first fell for her in the French film Queen Margot (1994). She was brilliant as the most ruthless of royals. She won the Cannes prize for Best Actress for her supporting role which probably didn't make Margot herself Isabelle Adjani too happy but they were at odds in the film, too. 

RANDOMNESS
Guardian doesn't like the new Annie but what makes that little orphan so durable in pop culture? 
Comics Alliance a fresh way to illustrate "superhero fatigue" -- by spending a day with fatigued Joss Whedon on the set of Age of Ultron
Coming Soon walks you through Jon Favreau walking fans through the making of The Jungle Book. All I'm here for is the cute photo of ScarJo recording the voice of Kaa.  
Grantland has a piece people like a lot on The Babadook. People aren't done talking about that
Playbill The Exorcist (1973) will be moving to the stage. Not a musicalized version.  Well, it does all take place in one house so you don't have to worry about that part of stage transitions.
Pride Source adorably frank interview with Russell Tovey from Looking (and other shows) on his sex scenes with Jonathan Groff and what he wants for the show's drama


Playbill Audra McDonald will recreate her Tony winning "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" for HBO. Here comes her Emmy!
Comics Alliance Viola Davis rumored to be joining the cast of the supervillain film Suicide Squad as Amanda Waller. FWIW this is the role that Angela Bassett was utterly wasted in in that piece of poo Green Lantern movie
Grantland Ugh. I can't believe i missed this oral history of Boogie Nights when it was first published 

STAR WARS: THE INTERNET AWAKENS (THOUGH IT NEVER WENT TO SLEEP)
/Film Andy Serkis responds to speculation about his Star Wars: The Force Awakens role. 
CHUD wonders what Star Wars fans will have to left to complain about when the original trilogy is released without all the fussy changes that messed with its purity on Blu-Ray 
Nathaniel R and I sneak-peaked on Twitter that when I interviewed Oscar Isaac (coming soon) he assumed that's what I wanted to talk about. Haha 
Pajiba believe it or not, the Star Wars trailer is NOT the most viewed trailer of 2014
The Film Stage the character names from the new film 

OUTRAGE, CONT'D
Remember yesterday how I said I couldn't feel that outraged about this week's topic o' outrage (The Interview) but here are two topics that usually push my button but good and often enrage me.

1. Towleroad has a piece on author J.K. Rowlings recent admission that there were gay students at Hogwarts in her Harry Potter books.

If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that no one should live in a closet.”

I know how Harry Potter fans are and they'll applaud their icon for this but real talk: Saying after the fact that characters were gay in your mammoth culture-dominating best-sellers in which you could have gotten away with virtually any storytelling flourish is cheap lip service. It's wanting the gays to worship you without actually having supported them in any way other than in easy 'nothing to lose now' sound bites.  It's also insulting to use the closet metaphor since that's where all of her supposed gay characters were!

2. Variety has an article on five things we learned about moviegoing this year. I agree with #2 about Women in Hollywood but I'm so sad that the writer ruins his point by again bringing up the foolish 'there aren't 5 worthy women for Best Actress' business. Dear reader, I don't know how to stop this internet wide self-perpetuating sexism epidemic. And, yes, I believe it's completely sexist to ignore the existing actual contributions of women in order to complain about sexism and the lack of contributions of women. The only thing I feel I can do is keep pointing at the lie and hopefully shaming a few writers here and there with "God, did you only see the marketed to teen boys movies this year or what?'

And if you're going to bitch that we need more female themed movies you're going to have to support the ones we have now by, you know, ADMITTING THAT THEY EXIST. 

 

TODAY'S MUST-READ
Ayn Rand, that hard right conservative icon, reviews children's movies! A hilarious article from the New Yorker's Mallory Ortberg. Since it's impossible to pick a favorite I'm just picking two random ones to share but you must read the whole thing!

“101 Dalmatians”
A wealthy woman attempts to do her impoverished school friend Anita a favor by purchasing some of her many dogs and putting them to sensible use. Her generosity is repulsed at every turn, and Anita foolishly and irresponsibly begins acquiring even more animals, none of which are used to make a practical winter coat. Altruism is pointless. So are dogs. A cat is a far more sensible pet. A cat is objectively valuable. —No stars.

“Toy Story”
At last, a full-length feature about the inherent value of possessions. —Four stars.


LIST-MANIA

Towleroad "80 Most Powerful Coming Outs of the Year" I love that they do this list annually and that the number of coming outs mentioned keeps growing. It used to be a big deal every time someone came out. it's like *yep, another one*.
Pajiba "10 Most Forgettable Movies of 2014" Ouch
Film School Rejects best movie music of year 
Out "10 best TV gay scenes of the year" 
Slate "10 best books of the year" 
The Atlantic "Best TV episodes of the year" from Joe Reid and team 
The Dissolve "Best Films of the year that made under $100,000" 

 

 

FINALLY
Our beloved Brad Pitt (he was so good in Fury, wasn't he?) was recently released from Jury Duty in Los Angeles because jurors and lawyers would find him too distracting! In related news look at this unintentionally awesome paparazzi shot (above) from an Unbroken premiere. "Unbro" teehee

 

Thursday
Nov062014

Freakshow: Pink Cupcakes

Nathaniel's in LA for the week so welcome Adam, who previously covered True Blood, for the latest AHS: Freakshow epsiode. Here's the rundown and commentary. How'd you like the episode?  

The Motts. They're the best part of "Freakshow," yes?

Plot: Elsa continues to plot against Bet and Dot since they’re in the position to replace her front-lining status at the Freak Show. Stanley and Maggie conspire to murder the Freaks, choosing money and notoriety over human compassion. Gloria and Dandy each come to terms with his new 'hobby,' she in the way of clean up and him in the embracement of his murderous urges. Desiree realizes she may not be as “freakish” as she once thought, while the Strongmen combats his inner self-loathing for that which he cannot change. 

The Strong Man joins the rest of the planet in lusting after Matt BomerGuest Star of Note: Matt Bomer!  ♥ In what begins as a slightly boring intro, more needed for its revelation of the strongman’s love for a man than anything else, becomes exponentially more interesting when Dandy enters the picture. Also, that hair and those eyes. *swoon* (Gabourey Sidibe makes a brief Horror Story return as Patti Labelle’s inquiring daughter, but that scene was more about revealing Gloria’s inner pain from being an absent mother than announcing the presence of a new character.) 

QUOTABLES & SPOILERS after the jump...

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