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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

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Entries in biopics (102)

Thursday
Mar202014

Ryan Gosling as Busby Berkeley? We're In.

We can breathe easy now. Ryan Gosling isn't actually going to retire from acting. His next project is of course behind the camera (How To Catch a Monster starring Christina Hendricks) but sometime after that we could well see him choreographing up a virtual storm of beautiful shapes made from shapely beauties. He's (possibly) attached to a Busby Berkeley biopic. The film will be based on Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak

Gosling & Busby

It's not the type of project we imagined him for him as musicals went. In fact it's easier to picture him as one of those handsome singing hosts in tuxes in the musical numbers who present the parade of beautiful girls, but this isn't actually all that far off. Busby Berkeley was a driven visionary, always out to top himself, and messing with the boundary of the stage and the possibility of the camera long before Rob Marshall kept throwing his hands up and just filming dance numbers on a stage. Though Berkeley is best remembered for this massive dance numbers with relatively anonymous legions of chorus girls, he frequently worked with big stars like Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Powell  and Gene Kelly (good luck finding people to play them!) and was married six times so there's lots of temperamental drama possibilities here.  

I'm always surprised when Hollywood greenlights movies about themselves. Though Oscar is often drawn to movies about movies they are rarely anything more than modest hits with the public if they're that.

And yet, if his reminds Hollywood of the virtues of choreography that you can actually see (stop with the constant closeups during dance numbers, already!) and of the virtues of Ryan Gosling gifts outside of strong and silent anti-heroes, than we all win.

Monday
Mar172014

Women's History Month: Greer Garson as Marie Curie

Our celebration of Women's History Month continues with abstew's look at English Rose Greer Garson in a nearly-forgotten classic about one of the most important women in science. 

Marie Curie

Born: She was born Maria Sklodowska on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. She was the youngest of five children and her father was a professor in the fields Marie would later study, mathematics and physics. 

Death: After years of being exposed to the radioactivity from her experiments (no Silkwood showers for Curie) and the X-ray carts she created and worked in during WWI, her life's work would ultimately bring about her own end. Curie died on July 4, 1934 of aplastic anemia, a disease that damages the bone marrow and blood stem cells caused by exposure to chemicals and radiation. In 1995, her remains were moved to the Panthéon in Paris. She is the only woman to be buried in the prestigious monument because of her own achievements.

Greer Garson's Madame Curie (1943) is after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar142014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Get On Up"

You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

I love The Help (2011). I don't care who knows it. So I'm immediately curious about Get On Up, Tate Taylor's follow up which reunites Minny & Aibileen though they both take a back seat since this time it's the story of rock legend James Brown (Chadwick Boseman). This trailer also starts with an affirmative.

You special. And your momma's a no account fool. But you ain't gonna be. One day everybody gonna know your name"

JAMES BROWN [*makes applause sound*]

Okay so that's not as universal an affirmation but... wait. oh. That makes Viola Davis the 'no account fool'? Do over! Not sure I'm okay with this. Time for a Yes No Maybe So™ 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar102014

Women's History Month: Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc

For Women's History Month ocassional portraits of actresses portraying iconic real women. Here is abstew with Ingrid Bergman as film's favorite saintly female warrior. 

Born: January 6, 1412 (the exact date of her birth is not exactly known, but she stated she was 19 at the time of her trial)

Death: May 30, 1431. After being captured by the English, she was imprisoned and a trial before an ecclesiastic court condemned her with heresy for which she was burned at the stake. Legend has it that her executioner begged for mercy on his soul because he had just killed a saint. 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar072014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Grace of Monaco"

Approaching trailers for movies you're going to see no matter what (i.e. anything with your favorite actor in it) makes the Yes, No Maybe So™ question a strangely hypothetical one. Such is the case with Grace of Monaco which is currently scheduled to open on ____. No, we don't know the date yet but people will be talking about it in May after its Cannes premiere. Let's hope those of us who can't afford $1000 a night for a trip to France in the summer don't have to wait seven months* to form our own opinions; a bit of glam adult counterprogramming in the summer (look at the scenery!) would be a kind thing to do!

But where were we?

Oh yes, Princess Grace. At the beginning of the trailer we learn that she'd like to return to Hollywood -- Hitchcock wanted her for Marnie (1962) but...conflict! Her formerly charming prince won't allow for it; this is not a Disney musical and there will be no Happily Ever After...

the Yes No Maybe So breakdown is after the jump. Non-Spoiler Alert: I'm a "Yes"

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb142014

Linkers Dozen

TFE Mrs de Winters or Danvers? So little time to vote for these ladies without first names. It's Beauty vs. Beast
Google has Valentine's stories today, with simple line animations and audio, and they're just adorbs 
NY Times film restoration isn't only for old hollywood. They also do porn!
/Film Black Widow film still being considered by Marvel Studios. But then, what isn't?
Coming Soon Ron Howard replacing Alejandro González Iñárritu in the director's chair on a new Jungle Book. Because a) they're so interchangeable! and b) we need another Jungle Book for some reason I guess.
LA Times what are the most memorable clips for the lead nominees. How to choose a key moment?

 

Extension 765 features a must-read list by Steven Soderbergh of everything he's watched last year. All I can say about this is that I LOVE THAT HE WATCHED ALL THE EPISODES OF "SMASH"
All Things Considered on the friendship between Shirley Temple and Bojangles
Cinema Blend The Spencer Tracy & Katharine Hepburn romance may get its own biopic. Take that one millionth, Liz Taylor movie!
Variety with her remake of Murder She Wrote no longer happening, Octavia Spencer picks "Red Band Society" as her TV series
Awards Daily "Meet the Academy" a pie chart
VF Leonardo DiCaprio on why he didn't star in Moulin Rouge!

To be honest, I’m not really prepared to do a musical, simply because I think I have a pretty atrocious voice 

Bye!

 

P.S. Right after I posted this news update, Ellen Page came out. What timing.

Wednesday
Feb052014

William S Burroughs Centennial

Today is the centennial of the infamous Beat era writer William S Burroughs and I've been thinking about him lately due to Philip Seymour Hoffman's death via heroin (why is it that I always start stringing the celebrity junkies together when they die? Is it because there are so damn tragic many of them?) but mostly because I was really gripped by Ben Foster's portrayal of him in Kill Your Darlings, a problematic movie about guys that weren't nearly as palatable in real life (despite the movie being about murder) that had a great moment here and there. Of course the movie wasn't really about Burroughs but about Lucien Carr's (Dane Dehaan) murder of his lover (Michael C Hall). From time to time I have wondered why we've had no straight up biopic about Burroughs (Keifer Sutherland is the only other actor I can think of that's played him), given that he's a very famous white guy genius and that's the kind of biopic Hollywood likes best. But I guess it couldn't be done; The MPAA and most moviegoers and possibly even myself would just never be able to deal what with the sex, the drugs, the finger-chopping, the wife-shooting, and what not.

So let's move over to actual movies. Burroughs appeared in a small role in Gus Van Sant's terrific Drugstore Cowboy (1989) which I highly recommend to any of you wondering why Matt Dillon was a "you owe him" Oscar nominee for Crash (2005) and then of course there was David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991), a film version of Burrough's, ummmm, unfilmable novel. (Incidentally our friend Nick, who you know from Nick's Flick Picks and the podcast, writes extensively on this film in his first book "The Desiring Image") Whether or not any cinematic interpretation of Naked Lunch could be considered definitive if we didn't have it we would never have seen Julian Sands buggered by a towering insect monster or Judy Davis injecting bug powder into her breasts.

Have you seen Naked Lunch or read any of Burroughs work?

Burroughs with Cronenberg during the filming of Naked Lunch

Some Centennial Celebrations
Time Magazine "Rebel, Junkie, Exile, Genius"
NPR "Possessed by Genius"
The New Statesman "To say it country simple, most folks enjoy junk” - Burroughs in 1966 on kicking his heroin addiction 
Dreg Studios Brandt Hardin celebrates the history of Burroughs with a portrait 

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