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Entries in Brad Pitt (55)

Monday
Sep152014

Thoughts I Had...While Admiring the Beauty of Brangelina in "By the Sea"

abstew here with some random thoughts on the just released new stills from the newest directorial effort of Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, By the Sea. EW received the exclusive pics (hence the magazine's watermark on the photos) and a mini-interview with the writer/director/producer and star that pairs her up on screen with new husband Brad Pitt (their first on-screen partnering since the film that brought them together and launched a million tabloid magazine covers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Set in the 1970's, Jolie stars as a former ballet dancer travelling France with her American husband (that would be Pitt, naturally). Their marriage is beginning to show signs of strain and they find themselves drawn to the inhabitants of a small costal town on their journeys...and comedy ensues! (But probably not):

  • Damn. I feel like they just announced this film was in the works and we already have photos after one week of shooting...and just three weeks after a super secret marriage? Beautiful, talented, and hyper-organized. That Jolie-Pitt household must run like a well-oiled machine. Which I guess it would have to considering how many children there are to juggle as well.
  • I love that instead of going on a traditional honeymoon, Brad and Angelina chose to spend 8 weeks filming a domestic drama together. Apparently Angie's calling it a "Workingmoon". Ugh.
  • God, they're both so pretty. Just look at that face. If Madonna were singing about movie stars of today it would be, "Angelina: Gave Good Face."
  • I'm getting serious Sophia Loren vibes from Angie in this pic. 
  • Everyone is always complaining that Angie is a movie star without the movies to back it up. After the commercial success of Maleficent, could this be the critical hit that boosts her film legacy?
  • Film about a failing marriage, starring Hollywood's biggest real-life couple - is it too much pressure to already compare this to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 
  • Although the last time we had Angie in a lush European setting we got everyone's favorite Musical or Comedy The Tourist, so...yeah, maybe too much pressure. I should settle for something in between the two.
  • But how great would it be if Brad and Angie were both nominated for acting Oscars in the same year for the same film? Maybe throw Jon Voight in there too just to make it a complete family affair.

  • Honestly, can we get Brad Pitt an acting Oscar already?! They can keep it on a separate shelf away from the producing Oscars and give Angie's Best Supporting Actress acting statue some company. And Zahara, Shiloh, and lil Vivienne can dress them up in doll clothes.
  • Sideburns, creepy sunglasses, and pornstache? Yep, this is definitely set in the 70's.
  • Although staring into that mirror, I half expect him to reenact the final scene in Boogie Nights. "I am a star..."
  • Isn't Mélanie Laurent in this as well? I want a picture of her, too! God, she's so good in Beginners and Inglorious Basterds (with Pitt!).
  • I actually didn't like Brangelina's last on-screen pairing, but there was no denying their combustible chemistry. I'm curious if after almost 10 years together they'll still be able to make that spark between them light up the screen. And I know we generally wait for an actual trailer before utilizing Yes, No, Maybe So, but I'm already a Yes...

Universal is releasing By the Sea sometime next year (most likely in the Fall). But in the meantime, we'll have countless red carpet and awards show appearances this season for both stars as Pitt has Oscar hopeful Fury opening October 17 and the Angelina Jolie-helmed Unbroken opens Christmas Day.

Sunday
Aug242014

182 days 'til Oscar

Which power couple will be obsessing over in just six months time? The 87th Oscars approach and as long as the movies have been around there have been fabulously wealthy and glamorous movie star couples. Take Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks for instance, the original celebrity power couple. If you must know (I know you are too shy to ask) my favorite films of theirs are His: The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and Hers: Stella Maris (1918) though admittedly I have many more left to see.

Fairbanks & Pickford were married in 1920 when both were superstars, he the original Zorro and she Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and other big hits. He famously gave Pickford "The Star of Bombay," a 182-carat sapphire which was not actually from Bombay but from Sri Lanka. She later bequeathed it to the Smithsonian where it remains. There's your priceless (okay, $½ million in today's dollars) piece of trivia for the day. You're welcome.

Pickford (the original "America's Sweetheart") and Fairbanks (the original "King of Hollywood") were among the 36 co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Fairbanks served as its first President and both would eventually receive Honorary Oscars with Mary also winning a regular statuette for Coquette). Could they have ever imagined how obsessive we'd all be about their little annual banquets 87 years later? 

At the 86th Oscars, contemporary Hollywood's most glamorous megastar couple Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt famously ate a pizza (well, he did) but they were also honored. She took home an Honorary (albeit non televised. argh) and he won his first competitive Oscar for producing 12 Years a Slave. They could theoretically both take home Oscars again if Fury and Unbroken are massive hits with AMPAS and reasonably well liked by audiences. 

Do you think they will be?

CURRENT OSCAR PREDICTIONS (which category needs a major rethink?)

Friday
Jun272014

Yes No Maybe So: Fury

Behold, a glorious poster for Fury, the forthcoming war drama (opening in November) starring Brad Pitt and assorted thespians of the male gender. If the movie is great (a big if) this is the kind of poster that would become iconic. It's almost mythic already, what with the perfect but unexpected composition, evocative mood, stormy color and the title painted on the tank's gun. 

The trailer also came out this week so let's break that down with our Yes No Maybe So system after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun112014

Brad Pitt in "Fury"

A behind the scenes look at David Ayer's Fury, which takes place late in World War II and collects a bunch of strong actors (Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, etcetera with Brad Pitt to lead them) for tank duty. Did I underestimate it on my Oscar charts? They're shooting on real film. Good on them. 

Monday
May122014

Stage Door: An Iliad and (gulp) Troy's 10th Anniversary 

If you'll allow me a personal and quite biased recommendation, I'd love to send any Floridians reading to the Orlando Fringe Festival (May 14th-25th) to check out Allen Sermonia or Jenn Remke in An Iliad. Jenn and Allen are friends of mine and I had the privilege of attending a full rehearsal last week in which Jenn performed the entire show (they're doing it in repertory so Allen gets alternating nights) and apparently she's the first female actor to ever perform it!

I've seen Jenn in a few previous plays so I knew she was talented but holding an entire stage by yourself is a true challenge and I'm happy to report she was riveting. By the time the play sunk its hooks in, I forgot I was watching my friend and was just watching "the poet" working her way through numerous character sketches and a retelling of the specifics of the Trojan War and, by troubling extension, the not-so-specific universality of war.

Even those who don't get a decent education in the classics (in this case Homer's "The Iliad") know the story thanks to the way all hugely influential classics seep into the collective subconscious. I've read the Iliad but I'm embarrassed to report that instead of the poem my brain was doing a major Troy (2004) sidebar afterwards comparing the play's potent intimacy with the movie's B grade epicness.

It's not that I wanted to think about Troy...

BrothersCousins, eh?

It's just that I am me and Eric Bana and Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom and Diane Kruger (all looking beautiful enough to launch thousands of ships to possess) are a kind of draw, no matter how bad the surrounding movie is and however embarrassing that is to admit.

In a stupid coincidence Troy is celebrating its 10th anniversary just as this performance kicks off. And I am helpless in the face of such calendar markers. I haven't had a desire to revisit the movie but aside from the beauty of its players I remember being  convinced that Orlando Bloom, despite the terrible reviews he won, was actually perfect as Paris. It's just that the character is detestable and not in the type of way that often provokes rabid anti-hero worship. Bana also did fine and hugely charismatic work (I expected him to become a much bigger star but it was sadly not to be) but Garrett Hedlund and Brad Pitt were weirdly weak links despite being well cast. Maybe they didn't have enough to play with as actors? Mostly I did not appreciate the weirdly deflating rewrite of the Achilles/Patroclus relationship: 'They're just cousins, broseph; No Homo!'

If you've only ever seen Troy and no other dramatic interpretations of this story, I must suggest this BAFTA Nominated short film Achilles (1995), narrated by Derek Jacobi, from the Oscar nominated filmmaker Barry Purves which restores the gayness in gorgeous NSFW stop-motion:

 

Back to the play
Because my attention to the theater world is intermittent at best I had missed the explosion of interest in "An Iliad" over the last couple of years. Denis O'Hare, the ubiquitous character actor of stage, film and recently television (American Horror Story/True Blood) co-wrote it and performed it in repetory with Stephen Spinella (the Tony winning original star of Angels in America) in 2012 and it has since become a fixture in regional theater partially because it's cheap and easy to produce (no set / one actor), sure, but also because it's just a damn good play: moving, provocative, and angry.

Even if you're not in Florida, see it as soon as some regional theater tackles it near you.

Monday
May122014

Four Stories Lukewarm from the Presses That I Didn't Write About At First Because Reasons

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Brangelina II: The Sequel
FINALLY. The world's most famous movie couple Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt will reunite onscreen 10 long years after Mr & Mrs Smith (2005). Jolie wrote the script which is rumored to be about a troubled couple on vacation attempting to save their marriage. She's obviously been working hard at becoming a force behind the camera (I'm guessing she's announcing retirement from acting by 2018 or so... a hunch) so it's possible she'll direct it, too. It's a complete mystery as to why it's taken this mega-star couple this long to co-star again when a) they're still highly bankable and b) by all sane non-gossipy accounts they're still enormously fond of each other ten long years after their affair on Mr & Mrs Smith caused such a ruckus in Hollywood.

We so rarely get viable recurring screen couples anymore outside of franchises with infinite parts and iron clad contractual obligations. Occasionally accidents will happen and we'll get 3ish pairings of a couple that really works together onscreen (Turner & Douglas in the 80s, Ryan & Hanks in the 90s) but for the most part, Hollywood doesn't even attempt to capitalize on the proven success of onscreen chemistry. That's tremendously weird if you think about it for more than 2 seconds since Hollywood attempts to capitalize on EVERYTHING ELSE that's proven successful in the past. 

Speaking Of...

Spring Breakers 2. But Why?
You've undoubtedly heard by now that the divisive Spring Breakers (which was loathed and loathed in equal measure)  is getting a sequel. That sequel is apparently without the original cast and the original director so it begs the question of "why". It's not like Spring Break, that boozy young ritual, is not a marketable topic in and of itself. People have been making movies about that since at least the 1960s. So why connect it to a film that wasn't loved by  general audiences. Sure it opened well but it plummeted soon thereafter and at least in my screening there were many walkouts from the crowd that was not suspecting a subversive auteurist movie with a major male actor fellating firearms but just, you know, tits and ass. I heard a few "that's the worst movie I've ever seen" as I exited the theater.

Jonas Åkerlund (mostly known for smash music videos like "Ray of Light," "Smack My Bitch Up," "Telephone," "Paparazzi" and more)  is on board as the director. Maybe they want to sell it like a mainstream franchise that's also a rotating auteurist franchise -- like, I don't know "Aliens"? In which case awesome/ good luck! 

Baz ♥ Elvis
The news floating around that Baz Luhrmann is considering an Elvis Presley biopic came so quickly on the heels of the news that he was considering a bigscreen adaptation of TV's Kung Fu (which we did write about) that I didn't have it in me to go into speculation again about what he might do next. Largely because I don't trust him to make anything until at least 2017. He's notoriously non-prolific after all despite the web's interest in suggesting that he's about to do something every few months. Which is why I've illustrated this paragraph with a graphic I made in 2011 instead of with a photo of The King. Word and Film has casting suggestions and especially likes the idea of Zac Efron in the role. 

YNMS: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Sometimes the Yes No or Maybe So series is defeated/delayed by sheer Yesness. Such is the case with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I was a fan of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). It's not that it gave reboots a good name (in the end nothing can do that since they're still, at their core, cash grabbing regurgitation) but it did show that if you're going to riff on franchises with plentiful cultural history that doesn't need to be replaced in the first place, you can do it with contemporary thought, artistic conviction and something like passion instead of doing it absent-mindedly or ineffectually while cashing your checks (*cough* The Amazing Hobbit-Man of Steel Pt. 2).

But the new trailer but for argument's sake...

 

Yes - Jason Clarke (so excellent in Zero Dark Thirty) replacing James Franco as the human lead? Upgrade! It still looks classy and artfully mounted despite the rich cheese potential and dated B-movie pull of the premise.
No - Some CGI fakery with those baby apes. That halting voice talking might get old when stretched to 120 minutes and beyond.
Maybe So - Environmental and sociopolitical themes can be tough to deliver with anythink like subtlety or grace so we'll see. Will it be too grim/heavy-handed? And might it fare better in the long run with a little humor or cheese?

If you have thoughts on these stories you've kept bottled up, now is the time to spew them!

Tuesday
May062014

Tues Top Ten: "Friends" Episodes

Jose here. Ten years ago today (May 6th, 2004) television as we knew it passed away as Friends came to its end after ten landmark seasons.

The show redefined what Thursdays on NBC were all about and made huge stars out of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc and David Schwimmer. It also pretty much set the standard for what would become “the” multicamera sitcom rules.

On a more personal note, I was obsessed with this show as a teenager, having only caught up with it through syndication. I officially joined the “live” watching only during the fifth season and by the time the show ended, I understood what it was like to “lose” something you grew up with. I’m still mourning the loss of Friends and that other show about New Yorkers that ended its run the same year.  I’m sure you all have your favorite episodes, but whenever I think of me as a kid watching episode after episode after school, these are the ten I’d gladly take with me to Central Perk.

TOP TEN "FRIENDS" EPISODES 

10) The One with Phoebe’s Wedding (S10E12)

Why It’s Here: Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong as Phoebe prepares to walk the aisle and marry Mike (Paul Rudd). Her stepdad stabs a man in prison and Joey has to fill his shoes, while Chandler and Ross fight over who gets to replace one of Mike’s best men. Monica gets fired as wedding planner and a blizzard arrives forcing the gang to improvise...all leading to one of the most magical moments in the series.

MVF: Ross and his sidekick Chappy the dog.

Could it Be Any More Quotable?:

Joey: Friends, family, dog, thank you all for being here to witness this blessed event. The cold has now spread to my special place, so I'm gonna do the short version of this.

nine more greats after the jump...


Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr182014

April Showers: Thelma & Louise

waterworks all month long... this one's from the vaults

Tonight's shower is provided by mother nature rather than traditional indoor plumbing. That's appropriate since Thelma & Louise (1991) is elemental: all wide open spaces, blazing sun, dusty earth and women as hard driving forces of nature.

While the film belongs to Susan Sarandon's Louise, Geena Davis's Thelma is the maddening/adorable one. Among her many exasperating yet endearing qualities is her uninhibited horniness for one J.D. (early Brad Pitt). In the still above, Louise has booted the caddish hitchhiker out of their car since the friends are getting hotel rooms for the night. J.D. struts away into the rain shower, fully confident that Thelma's eyes are still on him. He even kicks up a boot heel, a private little show for her, as the car drives away.

There he goes. I love watching him go.

Wrangler butts drive her nuts... or something.

 

If you've seen more than two or three movies in your lifetime you'll know that this lustfully observed exit will not be J.D.'s exit from the movie. But Thelma apparently hasn't seen so many movies. She's surprised (and thrilled) when he comes a'knocking on her hotel room door later that same night.

J.D. is such a skilled charmer that the outcome of his neighborly call is never in doubt. The aw shucks grin is ease itself. He even knows just how to pose in the pouring rain so that the water runs, just so, off his cowboy hat. This 'I'll get out of your hair now' wet puppy act is all pretense. He's no puppy but a dog. He knows he's getting out of the rain. He knows he's getting into her bed.

Do you remember the first time you saw Brad Pitt in a movie? This was mine.