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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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Entries in comedy (77)

Tuesday
Aug192014

Where My (Legendary) Girls At: Jane, Lily, Diane, and Debbie

Any 24 hour period that has wonderful news about four film legends is a good day, at least in part. We have to grasp at happy straws considering the "real" world outside of the arts. So, let's start with the best best actress news of the day week month...

first still (since pulled it looks like it)

JANE & LILY
That Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin Netflix series "Grace & Frankie" is really happening and Jane Fonda wrote about it while sharing the first still and behind the scenes photos yesterday: 

I had a brief hard spell the first day, moving away from my Leona Lansing-Newsroom mode and into comedy. Comedy requires different muscles, a subtle shifting of gears, of attitude. It’s harder, in my opinion. This kind of comedy has to be real, the comedy has to come out of reality, out of pain, yet it has to be funny... 

Some actors don’t like to watch dailies (the footage you shot the day before). I, on the contrary, benefit from watching them, and not just the footage that I’m in. I’m one of the producers on this series and I need to see everything. Besides, it helps me calibrate my performance.. 

Jane Fonda would make the best Smackdown guest because she takes acting so seriously, articulates it well and still has curiousity about it; my heart practically burst at a Fonda event a year or two ago when she mentioned her plan to go back to acting class for reasons that there's always more to learn about your craft. This from a two time Oscar winner who, at her best, is pretty untoppable in terms of acting magic. It reminded me of Madonna taking vocal lessons in the 90s and then guitar lessons in the 00s -- Mega-successful people who still stay humble about their talent and seek to improve are a rare breed and deserve enormous respect. One of the great dangers of success is laziness and coasting, you know.

As for Lily, her 75th birthday is next month and we'll be sure to celebrate it somehow.

Debbie Reynolds & Diane Keaton after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug152014

Nicole's Return. The Dates Are Ever Changing.

When will our beloved Kidman return to us? For someone who works so consistently, doesn't it seem like it's hard to find Nicole Kidman in a movie theater? Grace of Monaco keeps threatening to arrive but never does leaving us to wonder if it will ever play in regular movie theaters after its shaming at Cannes (that place can be brutal). Any big dreams for the quality of Paddington (it comes from charming source material at least) her Christmas film, have been dashed by that hateful slapstick trailer and Colin Firth's exit as the voice. The wait is soon over though. For those of you who missed The Railway Man in theaters, it's just out on DVD and Blu-Ray. [Warning: Nicole's part is small enough that when the climax arrives, she's literally a blurry figure in the background.]

 

Next up though is the thriller Before I Go To Sleep which has a new poster (above) and a new release date: Halloween to be exact. Let's just hope it's better than The Invasion or Trespass. (It's apparently really hard to make a good thriller post-Hitchcock because not that many filmmakers are skilled at making them.)

After that picture all us Kidmaniacs will wait again for her other completed films to play the release date shell game. Most promising by far is Werner Herzog's Gertrud Bell biopic Queen of the Desert both because Herzog is an amazing director (another feather in Kidman's auteur-fetish cap!) and because the role is big and central. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Queen of the Desert is doing the fall festival circuit so maybe they're waiting until 2015?

CAST THIS!
This is one of those stories that was so obviously a Film Experience type of story that I pretended to myself that I'd already covered it on the blog. Like those dreams you have where you already went to class or work so there's no need to jump up and go when you wake up! Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are now attached to the film adaptation of Liane Moriarty's comic best seller Big Little Lies about a group of three mothers whose kids are in the same Kindergarten class in a beautiful Australian seaside town (with secrets, natch). A sprained ankle sets off a series of events which eventually leads to a school riot and a murder. There are three major characters (and apparently a lot of broadly drawn but possibly scene-stealing supporting casts). No word yet on which of the moms Nicole & Reese are planning to play but obviously a third star will be joining them.

These are the characters...

Madeline: gleefully extroverted, fashionable, and still a "glittery girl" at 40. Her broken Dolce & Gabbana heel sets the plot in motion. She's happily married but still having trouble with her ex and his younger "new age-y" wife
Celeste: a nervous very beautiful mom with twins, who is married to a wealthy man
Jane: shy, plain and uncomfortable in her own skin. New in town but Madeline and Celeste befriend this single mom when her son gets in trouble the very first day of school

YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO PICK THEIR ROLES FOR THEM AND ADD A THIRD ACTRESS IN THE COMMENTS!

Let's just pray this wasn't doesn't go the way of The Danish Girl which Nicole was attached to for quite some time until development hell took it from her plate. The film is still trying to get made but instead of an actress in the transgender lead role it's now Eddie Redmayne with his Les Miz director Tom Hooper guiding him through the transformation. 

Wednesday
Jul092014

Best Shot: Batman (1966)

Happy 75th Anniversary to the world's favorite f***ed-up orphan billionaire!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns on the evening of July 15th with a special free-for-all episode in which you choose whichever Batman feature film you want to look at and post your choice for its Best Shot. We link up. It's our way of celebrating Batman's 75th birthday. I opted to start at the beginning. No, not Tim Burton's high gothic smash but the special feature edition of the 1960's TV series, which was filmed after season 1 wrapped (the props were reused for follow-up seasons)

BATMAN (1966)


Batman (1966) has a ton of sight gags. I'm not claiming that any of them are particularly well-executed but my favorite bar none is Batman's lunatic run holding a lit bomb that he can't find a place to dispose of. It's what would happen if you crossed Batman with a Mr Bean skit. But that joke isn't freeze frameable since it's all in the montage / length. Since this is the only Batman feature that's an intentional comedy (someone will cover Joel Schumacher's movies I'm sure) I had to choose something humorous for my best shot. Nothing is funnier in 60s era Batman than the OCD labelling of everything. It's not enough to have everything shaped like the Bat symbol and called 'Bat-this' and 'Bat-that' but the Bat-name must also be displayed in big letters ON the item in case the hero forgets who he is or what props are (but remembers how to read). Even the four villains (Catwoman, Joker, Riddler and The Penguin) get in on the act with their own labelled shelves in their submarine HQ.  

In the movie's opening maritime rescue setpiece Batman dangles from the Bat-Copter on the Bat-Ladder (yes, there's a label on the last rung) when suddenly he emerges from the water with a shark dangling from his leg nine years before Jaws made that a universal nightmare. Batman tries to go all Lara Croft on its ass, but lacking her mad shark-punching skills many years later, Batman needs Robin to save him (but he's not in a hurry about it since he's Adam West and he likes to make each sentence into 3 sentences.)

Best Shot

Hand.    Me Down.    The Shark Repellent Bat Spray.

Robin climbs down the Bat-Ladder (no one is piloting the Bat-Copter. Just saying). Instead of just handing his Sugar Daddy the Bat Spray Shark Repellent --  it's not like the shark is going to leap legs for Burt Ward's chicken legs when it's already got an Adam West thigh --  the Boy Wonder pauses to be all acrobatic about it and hangs upside down to pass over the spray.

It's super dumb and I love it. 

[Gluttons for punishment can check out a few more shots I loved after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul042014

Review: Melissa McCarthy > Tammy

An slightly abridged version of this review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best developments of movie advertising this past decade is the use of single scenes as teasers. Remember when The Devil Wears Prada used the opening sequence, fashion magazine peons freaking out about the arrival of Miranda Priestley as a perfect hook? Do you want to see more? Yes Ma’am! 

Tammy employed a similar tactic at first giving you a peak at the actual movie instead of a greatest hits montage. The first tease was a single scene of Melissa McCarthy clumsily robbing a fast-food restaurant in a dumb paper bag mask: too large to clear the counter, too blind to lock a storage room door, too sweet to be threatening. “You want some pies? You want pies” It’s a very funny sequence promising a slapstick filled comedy about a bumbling amateur criminal. Melissa McCarthy is currently on top of Hollywood’s food chain after three consecutive smash hits (Bridesmaid, Identity Thief and The Heat) the first and last of which are top-notch comedies, continually funny, bracingly rude and totally rewatchable. 

Unfortunately, the robbery proves to be Tammy’s single best bit and, oops, we’ve already seen the whole thing. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun282014

Obvious Child, Juno, and Choices

Here's Adam on a film that's been on everyone's lips lately and an earlier hit you all know (and love?) - Editor

Juno & Donna. A girl in trouble is a temporary thing.

Leaving the subway platform on my way back to my apartment in Brooklyn from seeing Obvious Child, the reductively coined “abortion rom-com”, a young woman stepped out of a bodega mere feet away from me and accidentally dropped a mason jar of grape jelly. As she pouted in disappointment while the chunky purple contents dribbled through the sidewalk grate into the netherworld of New York City’s sewer system, I flashed back to the scene in Juno when Ellen Page slurps down an entire gallon of Sunny D and to the vacuum sound during Donna's abortion. Aside from the indisputable narrative similarities between the two films which each revolve around awoman's unexpected pregnancy, both delve into the crucial period of self-identification and questioning of a person’s, and that of their unborn child’s, significance in the world.

That’s what plagues people of all ages, right? Leaving your mark. Having a legacy. Will a family unit be the missing variable to your fulfillment equation?

Click to read more ...