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Entries in Brad Pitt (74)

Tuesday
May242016

Thelma & Louise, Pt. 3: Pitt Stops 

25th Anniversary Five-Part Mini Series Event 

In Pt 1 of our lookback at Thelma & Louise, a fateful night at the Silver Bullet threw Thelma & Louise off their course. In Pt 2 the best friends weren't so friendly  as they struggled to find a new one. When we left them, they'd picked up a charming hitchhiker (Hellooo, Baby Brad) and but Louise needed a cup of coffee and to collect herself. Anne Marie & Margaret, our own superheroine duo in Los Angeles were grappling with the surprise killing of a would be rapist. Was it rage and pride that motivated Louise to shoot after she had already saved Thelma? It certainly provoked audiences but was there any other way to play the film's themes?

Louise is trying to plot their next move when we return to them, just before they jump back in their '66 Thunderbird - Editor

Pt 2 by Daniel Crooke

50:58 – Surprised to see her leather-faced boyfriend, Louise looks like she’s seen a ghost. Based on their last phone call, it didn’t sound like she was planning on casually bumping into Jimmy north of the border anytime soon. These men just can’t get out of our heroines’ way; is it that maddeningly impossible to trust an independent woman to chart her own course in this world? (more...)

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Monday
May232016

Thelma & Louise, Pt 2: The Venetian Blindside

25th Anniversary Five-Part Mini Series Event 

When we left our heroines in Pt 1 of our 25th anniversary lookback at Thelma & Louise, they were fleeing the scene of their (first) crime but Louise needed a cup of coffee and to collect herself. Anne Marie & Margaret, our own superheroine duo in Los Angeles were grappling with the surprise killing of a would be rapist. Was it rage and pride that motivated Louise to shoot after she had already saved Thelma? It certainly provoked audiences but was there any other way to play the film's themes?

Louise is trying to plot their next move when we return to them, just before they jump back in their '66 Thunderbird - Editor

Pt 2 by Nick Davis

Now's not the time to panic. If we panic now, we're done for."

24:50 You could say this is the moment where Thelma and Louise shifts from a movie about two women fleeing some problems, at least temporarily, to two women solving a problem, probably permanently. Sure, I'll run to any movie where two women let their hair down, but I will fucking jet-propel myself to any movie where two or more women join forces to think their way out of a fix.  Well, not Mad Money.  And not The Boss.  Okay, there are exceptions.  But Thelma & Louise is the glorious rule, and this is where the drama of deduction, cognition, mutual examination, and deep self-reflection really kicks into fifth gear.

I should mention that I saw this film in the theater at 14.  Sheltered and naive about sex and violence, I didn't completely understand what rape was--which is to say, I think I learned it here.  I had never had a drink, much less been drunk, or even seen a margarita.  Ironically, the post-shooting moment when Thelma and Louise start spiraling into unknown territory was  when I started to connect with their world and feel common ground with the heroines.  I didn't know from waitressing jobs, fishing trips, honky tonks, convertibles, freeways, mesas, relationship troubles, shitty husbands, hitchhikers, horny moods, pistols, or structural misogyny, but I absolutely related to relying on wits to think your way out of a problem, and disclosing aspects of yourself in how you did so, and concealing parts of yourself at the same time.

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Wednesday
Mar162016

Q&A: Australian Greats, Leading Men, and Camera Muses

It's time for reader questions. Here are 10 recently asked I'm opting to answer tonight. Join the conversation in the comments. 

INQUIRER: Who do you believe is more worthy of an acting Oscar between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp, and who do you think is more likely to win one?

This would surprise anyone unfamiliar with the site but Brad Pitt towers over the other two. He's among my all time favorite movie stars. But you've crafted a tricky question because all three men have loyal camps that they've earned. Cruise is the most consistent, always laser focused on Doing His Job in whichever movie. Depp is the most inspired when he's inspired but he's also the laziest. It seems impossible to imagine now but people did not want him to play Pirates like he played it. The studio was concerned. What is he doing? Now people hire him to for Depp shtick and that's what he gives to the point of self parody! Pitt is the most uneven actor among the three but he's also the most endearing, has the best taste, has aged superbly with his talent, and has evolved the most. Years ago I felt certain that all three would eventually be crowned but it's hard to picture now. If any one of them does a moving hit drama when he's an old codger though perhaps he'll get a career achievement prize. If none of them ever win competitively I'd wager that Brad Pitt is the most likely to get an Honorary Oscar. 

This might be as good a time as any to tell you (warn you?) that April will be ACTOR MONTH here at the blog. We talk about actresses so much that it's time for a wee curveball. Any requests?

TABITHA: Why do female movie stars now largely seem to be in their 20's or 60's? There seems to be a resistance to embrace middle-aged stars (apart from Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron).

I blame this phenomenon entirely on sexism and the patriarchy. It's intrinsically tied to the "Last F***able Day" phenomenon that Amy Schumer named so brilliantly. I think once an actress has passed that threshold of straight men being "ewww she's AGING -- how dare she?" and is now just an older person, who for better or for worse are often desexualized in art, it's easier for people to just enjoy their acting again. That's my 100% correct theory. It's also harder for female stars to age because a huge percentage of them are famous in part because of exceptional beauty which is not necessarily true (certainly not percentage wise!) with their male counterparts.

KEVIN: if you put Meryl on a strict diet of auteurs, who would you pair her with for her next 3 films?

[more Q&A after the jump]

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Monday
Nov162015

Beauty vs Beast: An End To Hunger

Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" bidding a... somewhat... sad farewell to a movie franchise that's been kicking for several years now. This weekend The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (gahhhh, that lumbering title) is released, surely set to stomp over the Thanksgiving competition box-office-wise with its stlylishly Fascistic boots. But do we still care? I was a big fan of the books and the movies have all been pretty good but man I am feeling Katnissed out at this point; I'm still not convinced Mockingjay couldn't have been just one movie.

But I've already got my tickets for Thursday's night's show, natch, just like most of the rest of you. We are too small to fight. As for this week's competition I'm putting up my two favorite casting decisions from book to screen, both of whom knocked these roles outta the park...

PREVIOUSLY I think y'all were much more enthusiastic about voting on our poll pitting the Pitts-Jolie against each other last week than you were about actually going to see the new movie they were starring in, judging by its miniscule box office. In the end it was Mr. Smith who came out on top with about 60% of your vote. Wait did I say you were "enthusiastic" More like what STinG said:

"Fuck you for making us have to choose. They're both a perfect fit for each other and their actor. They're both too super cool. They're both the last of the great screwball couples. How can you do this to us?!"

Monday
Nov092015

Beauty vs Beast: Take My Spouse, Please

Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of Beauty vs Beast, pitting cinema's good guys and bad guys against each other in a polling orgasm of gorgeous vicious oneupmanship! And you'll forgive me for getting a wee bit over-passioned there with my adjectives since this week I'm surrounding us with two of the most gorgeous creatures to ever grace the big screen, much less the marital bed -- this Friday the cinematic supernovas Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt are reuniting on-screen in Jolie's most recent directorial effort, the swooning-in-sunglasses drama By the Sea. (You can read what Nathaniel had to say about the film here.) It's been ten full years since the last time the stars combined their movie star wattage onto one fortunate screen, and that's where we look for this week's contest...

PREVIOUSLY Last week we bonded with James & Co. (bonded, get it, ha ha, sigh) in honor of the latest 007 flick (Did you see it this weekend? Thoughts?) -- looking back at Skyfall it was Daniel Craig himself who left us shaken and stirred over Bardem's baddie, taking about 63% of your vote. Said tom:

"In this case, I vote for Bond. the first half of the movie was just building up the character of Silva and when we finally meet him, disappointment. That isn't completely Bardem's fault, but no vote from me."

Saturday
Nov072015

AFI Fest: "By the Sea" Premieres

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles. I've been offline so I have to thank the team for keeping us up to date in the news. In the interest of not getting too far behind, let's talk about Thursday's opening event.

A rental car misshap nearly prevented me from attending the glitzy premiere of Mr & Mrs Pitt aka By the Sea but I made it in the nick of time. Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt manage the uncommon feat of looking as beautiful as the seaside scenery onscreen and just as beautiful offscreen. They were both glammed up like it was Oscar night in full tux & perfectly groomed hair (Brad) and shimmering form fitting white gown (Angie). Their new film is a marital vacation drama that feels like an uncomfortable fusion of three film types. The first is the enigmatic 60s Italian pictures -- think Antonioni letting Monica Vitti languidly sex up the camera and drive everyone mad while everyone forgets about the plot because "plot? --  how banal!" The second is a kind of meta-interest "vanity project" like a Burton & Taylor joint and I use the term vanity project in the most flattering way possible; no one earns vanity like the great movie stars and both Brad and Angie qualify for that designation. The third is hostile vaguely unreal marital drama erotica. In all three cases the film doesn't go nearly far enough: it needs to be more enigmatic / indifferent to the audience like L'Avventura OR more terrible and superstar campy like, say, Boom!, OR more sexually charged and surreal like maybe Eyes Wide Shut.

It's tough to imagine who the film might satisfy as its mostly inert and repetitious (not a total problem if you like art films), approaches sexually charged material rather timidly (a bigger problem), and is oddly backloaded story-wise which suddenly makes the film feel ill at ease with its languid despair at the last moment "oh, there needs to be A Story" 

But for what's it's worth it's an interesting curiousity. Along with a few truly great moments, it's fun to hear Brad Pitt speaking French and he acts drunk well.

Afterthoughts
It's interesting that Jolie  keeps challenging herself with different types of films even though she doesn't seem like a "natural" at directing, truth be told. I refuse to call her "Angelina Jolie Pitt" -- women need to stop defining themselves as belonging to a man and it's even worse when celebrities do it. Nearly all instances of famous people changing their public name for marriage end in tears and it looks sloppy on filmographies. Joanne Woodward didn't change her professional name to Joanne Newman when she married Paul and look how happy they were and remained for his whole life!

Gena Rowlands at the opening night partyAt the after party, I wasn't able to get close to Angelina or Brad and didn't spot the beautiful French stars Melanie Laurent & Melvil Poupaud (though they were at the premiere as the other couple in the film) but the most famous married movie stars in the world were real troupers hanging at the party for a good long while and speaking to well wishers in their über glamorous duds. The after party did provide one moment of pure movie bliss though: I was able to congratulate Gena Rowlands on her impending Honorary Oscar. It was brief but heavenly. She was gracious and beaming. Sasha Stone snapped the picture of this blessed moment. Thanks Sasha!

More from the AFI fest soon!

Sunday
Oct252015

AFI Fest 2015: Predicting this year's 'American Sniper'

Margaret here. The full 2015 AFI Fest lineup has been announced and it's full of must-sees, from Oscar-campaign heavyweights and indie up-and-comers alike.

Many of the season's most buzzy films have already made a splash at Cannes, TIFF and NYFF, and a few of those will be screening here, but AFI Fest will also as in years past be holding world premieres for a few late-breaking contenders. With the first end-of-the-film-year nominations out (Gotham Awards, always early but never predictable) many pundits would have you believe the shortlists are already set, but there may yet be a few wild cards in the mix.

Last year AFI Fest gave us the world-premieres of two eventual Best Picture nominees (Selma and American Sniper), a critical darling that nonetheless escaped Oscar's notice (A Most Violent Year), and an all-around non-starter (The Gambler). This year the festival will premiere By the SeaThe Big Short, and Concussion, as well as The 33 (already released in Latin America but not yet widely screened in English-language markets). Naturally we're very curious to see which of these, if any, will make the kind of impression it will take to break into the conversation and stay there.

The Big Short: a (comedic?) drama about the bursting of the housing credit bubble in the 2000s. Directed by Adam McKay; starring Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. Oscar loves when comedic actors get serious. Might similar goodwill extend to a director like Adam McKay, who is most famous for his many absurdist collaborations with Will Ferrell? You'll note that the ensemble cast is chock-full of Oscar nominees with atrocious hairdos-- reminds one of nothing so much as American Hustle, which made a killing on nomination morning 2013.  

By the Sea: a marital drama set at the 1970s French seaside. Written and directed by Angelina Jolie, who is also starring with Brad Pitt. As buzzy as it gets: the world's most famous celebrity couple, acting together for the first time in ten years. Jolie's last directorial effort debuted to very healthy box office and decent reviews-- unspectacular, but more than enough to sustain curiousity for her third film. People seem to really want it to be good, and the below the line team (including The White Ribbon DP Christian Berger and The English Patient composer Gabriel Yared) bring a formidable arsenal of talent to the table. But will a romantic drama that's not also a biopic be able to gain traction with Oscar? 

Concussion: a dramatic thriller about the real-life Dr. Bennet Omalu's research on serious brain damage in professional football players and the NFL's efforts to keep him quiet. Written and directed by Peter Landesman, starring Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Albert Brooks. Primed to be a dramatic comeback for Smith, who used to cross back and forth between blockbusters and prestige films much more often. The true story aspect is often irresistable to awards bodies, and it seems that recent-history stories about the investigation of shady dealings by powerful people is a popular theme among this year's Oscar hopefuls (see also TruthSpotlightThe Big Short). But since the trailer dropped, Smith's accent has been the object of many a snide comment-- will we be able to take him and the movie seriously? There are also rumors that pressure from the NFL shaped some of the storytelling, which if true could impact the movie's bite and credibility.

The 33: a true-life drama based on the 2010 Chilean mining catastrophe that trapped 33 miners underground for over two months. Directed by Patricia Riggen, starring Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Lou Diamond Phillips. Not only does it have the true-story advantage, but the subject is an objectively impressive and cinematic human achievement. Binoche and Banderas also both have decades of critical goodwill. The response from critics in Latin America (where it has already opened) suggests that it's something of a broad melodrama, which might not win it die-hard fans among cinephiles but certainly puts it in good company with many Best Picture nominees in years past.

Which of these has the potential to go full American Sniper and sneak into 5-7 nominations? Which do you predict will go the way of The Gambler? And perhaps most importantly: which movies on the AFI Fest slate are you dying to hear more about? Nathaniel, Anne Marie, Kieran and myself will be attending and sharing our thoughts.