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Entries in biopics (141)

Thursday
Apr282016

A Deluge of Kennedys

Murtada here. Within the next two years, there will be three movies about The Kennedys. They seem to be as fascinating to filmmakers as the British Royal family. Even less famous members of the family are now subjects of movies.

Diana (2013) was both a car crash and framed its story by a notorious car crash. Now it's time for the Kennedys' own notorious car crash. Announced this week is Chappaquiddick with Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy. The film tell the story of 1969 tragic car accident that involved Ted and took the life of teacher and political campaigner Mary Jo Kopechne. How Ted handled the aftermath - leaving the scene, waiting hours to report it - led of course to the end of any presidential aspirations he might have had. The film will be directed by John Curran, who previously directed The Painted Veil (2006) and Tracks (2013).

The very busy Emma Stone - currently being Billie Jean King - is set to play another JFK sibling, the lesser-known eldest sister Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy in Letters from Rosemary. Joseph and Rose Kennedy’s first born was lobotomised at the age of 23 after developing violent mood swings that embarrassed her famous family. The film is reportedly about the events leading up to the lobotomy and its aftermath. We assume this might be a project that will not be popular within the family. Not that they would ever comment about any of the many projects about them. Royals don’t do that!

The first project we will likely see though is Pablo Larrain’s Jackie about the immediate aftermath of JFK’s assassination. Once earmarked for Darren Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz, it now stars Natalie Portman as Jackie and Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby. Aronofsky remains a producer. Production pictures have been released months ago, so we assume it’s in post production and might appear on the fall festival circuit. Sarsgaard’s hair seems wrong, although Portman’s costumes are spot on. Jackie tackles much covered territory, what more could be added to those often discussed few days? The other two projects are about more obscure chapters in the family history, which could mean they might be more interesting.

Still that’s just way too many projects about one rich and powerful family. There’s even an upcoming sequel to the 2011 miniseries The Kennedys, with Matthew Perry as Ted and Katie Holmes reprising her Jackie. I’m already exhausted, are you?

Thursday
Apr212016

On the Linkfront

VF Hollywood Charlize Theron's son loves Emily Blunt... and Frozen
Pajiba posits that Grease 2 is the superior Grease and a feminist triumph
Gothamist On the Waterfront is coming back to movie screens on April 24th and 27th as a Fathom Event. It's rarely seen on the big screen, so go
Variety there is a Three's Company movie in the works. Because.
Guy Goald "The Garlic Awakens"

The Retro Set the 8 most cinematic Duran Duran music videos. They stole from Mad Max, The Night Porter and even Indiana Jones
Towleroad This is awesome. Salt Lake City is renaming 900 South (a pretty cool street as it goes in SLC) "Harvey Milk Blvd". In related news: SLC must have changed a heap since I lived there for this to happen
NY Post Cher: The Musical. It could happen on Broadway
The New York Times Abolitionist Harriet Tubman is coming to the $20 bill. Albeit in 2020. That'll be a fun follow up to the HBO biopic starring Viola Davis (if that one is still on... who knows?)
Vulture Mark Harris's must read piece on Hollywood's strange disrespect for Melissa McCarthy, ICYMI
Pop Matters Duncan Sheik talks about his music for American Psycho on Broadway 
Tracking Board interesting casting: Debra Winger and Tracy Letts will co-star in The Lovers for A24 as a couple planning to break up but having second thoughts  
Stage Buddy Jose interviews Joachim Trier on his first English language film Louder than Bombs


RIP

Variety famous wrestler and TV reality star Chynna, who even played superheroine She Hulk in a porn parody, is found dead in her home 
Guardian remembers director Guy Hamilton who made four James Bond films (including Goldfinger) and other films like Force 10 From Navarone and The Mirror Crack'd 

Oops
We forgot to share the first trailer to Oscar hopeful The Birth of a Nation. If you haven't yet seen it, here it is. 

 

Thursday
Apr142016

First Look: Battle of the Sexes

Murtada here. So you have a new movie about a very popular internationally recognizable person, what to do to announce that your film has started shooting? Why get Billie Jean King herself to tweet a photo of your two stars, right next to the two real life people they are playing. Get everyone talking about the uncanny likeness. Easy peasy, the internet ate it up!

Battle of the Sexes is about the 1973 tennis match between King and Bobby Riggs that made headlines worldwide and still stands in the culture as encapsulation of 1970s changing social attitudes about sport and feminism. Emma Stone is King and Steve Carrell is Riggs and boy do they look the part. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) are directing, the supporting cast includes Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue and in a Birdman reunion Andrea Riseborough as Marilyn Barnett, King’s girlfriend at the time. It was surprising to see Danny Boyle's name as a producer, although not so much when seeing his Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours partner Simon Beaufoy as the screenwriter.

Barnett during the alimony trial.

Riseborough’s casting hopefully means that the movie will explore the tumultuous relationship between King and Barnett. Their relationship became public in 1980 when Barnett sued for alimony, outing King and putting her in the path of LGBT rights advocacy. That was 7 years after the battle of the sexes, so we are keeping hopes tempered.

The film just started shooting, so we have a long wait before we can see it, perhaps in the second half of 2017. However since this is an awards site, it’s never too early to speculate. We know that playing a real life person - with that person making the campaign rounds alongside the actor - is a surefire way to win an Oscar. The movie has to be good of course, this one at least has the pedigree. Will this be Emma’s moment? 

Friday
Apr012016

Posterized: Tom Hiddleston

Photography by Charlie GrayWelcome to Actors Month. We'll try to concentrate on the men for the next 30 days just for a change of pace. (Though obviously Actresses are never far from our hearts so we won't ignore them entirely).  So let's kick things off with Tom Hiddleston. I Saw the Light, a biopic of Hank Williams expands into over 700 theaters today. While I can't recommend the film which is DOA without any of its own energy or insight and contains every single rise and addictive fall trope from every music biopic ever produced.

BUT at least Tom gets to sing (every note in fact) and he has a fine voice so hopefully we'll hear it again in a future film?

The internet's ex-boyfriend (he's been replaced by Oscar Isaac we hear) has been famous for just five years now having risen to fame very quickly via Thor (2011) and his rendition of lying Loki. 

He has made 14 pictures. How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar302016

Q&A: Artists in Movies and Uninspiring Best Pic Lineups

For this weeks Q&A I asked for an art theme to celebrate the joint birthday of Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco de Goya on this very day! So we'll start with a few art-focused topics before venturing to rando questions.

TOM: Which film about an artist (in any field of the Arts) that you were not particularly knowledgeable about made you want to see/hear the real work by that artist? 

I vastly prefer non-traditional biopics so I'm susceptible to stuff that piques curiosity rather than gives you a greatest hits. So I like bios like Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993). I have some problems with I'm Not There (2007) which is my least favorite Todd Haynes film but I respect the hell out of it conceptually. In terms of movies about painters I definitely became more interested in Francis Bacon after Love is the Devil (1998) and not just because of Daniel Craig in the bathtub! I already cared about Caravaggio before seeing Derek Jarman's Caravaggio but I hope people see that one, too. 

BRIAN: If you had to recommend a budding Cinephile a movie based on an artist, a work of art, or has artistic themes what would it be?

Hmmm. A lot of movies about painting aren't very good (Watching someone paint being only a notch more interesting than watching someone write). So let's do "artistic" theme and the answer there is easily Amadeus (1984). It's such a useful movie to reference in ways both commonplace ("too many notes!") and contemplative (what makes the difference between competent journeyman skill and true genius?). One of my other favorite "art" movies is High Art (1998)...

8 more questions after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar052016

What's Next for the Women of "Carol" (and other lesser beings)?

Murtada here. Now that the Oscars are behind us (and our coverage concluded) our eyes turn to the future. Josh told you about new projects for four winners. But what of the "Best" losers? Let's start with the magnificent Carol ladies and move on to other actresses to see where they're headed next.

10+ future prospects after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb262016

Review: Eddie the Eagle

Eric here for the new Hugh Jackman. Eddie the Eagle tells the true-life story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, who became the first skier to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping in 1988.  The comic spin:  Eddie is not really an athlete, or a particularly good skier.  But he’s a dreamer!  And tenacious!

Even if this weren’t a true story, you’d know from the first few scenes where it was headed.  Director Dexter Fletcher doesn’t have any aspiration higher than to make you feel good, but he has a just-pluckier-than-sitcom sensibility that feels predictably right for this genre.  He delivers the kind of film that studio executives love, where nothing is challenging and all the characters fall into their respective stereotypes (including groan-inducing taunting foreign competitors and the horny middle-aged female bar owner.!)

Where the filmmakers got it right, and very very lucky, is with their two leads. Externally, Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) overplays the comedy with a bit too many Zellwegarian face scrunches, but internally he has a surefooted instinct for the joke and knows how to keep things surprising with his captivating capriciousness. For this film the latter goes a long way. Jackman has essentially no character on the page, but he plays it as if nobody told him he’s in a mediocre movie.  One of Jackman’s secret weapons as a movie star is that he always knows exactly what is required of him in any given film.  Here he just needs to loan out his star wattage to add credibility and look great in jeans; he supplies both with sweet aplomb.   

Even though this movie has low ambitions, which it achieves with low success, it’s tough to be mad at it.  There are enough bright lines of dialogue to make you wish there were more, plus a bouncy score that salutes 80s comedies (until it veers towards standard, Feel-This-Way scoring).  The film may be as subversive as a Norman Rockwell painting, but when Egerton and Jackman walk towards each other flapping their wings, there’s a pleasant little high.