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Entries in Denzel Washington (40)

Monday
Jan112016

Leo & Kate Rising. Plus Globe Darlings of Yore

Updated/Revised

While the Golden Globes are famous for not repeating themselves when it comes to TV honors (and thus earning our love because the world desperately needs the anti-Emmys). But this is not to say that they don't have favorite performers. The Globes, like every other awards body, have their personal pets, their default players, and their great loves. The names just don't totally line up with any other awards body... which is how it should be. Any awards group that seeks to share the same taste with another group (or predict it) would be immediately dismantled in a perfect awards world.

The Reunion. Why can't they make a movie together every 5 years or so?

We had a reminder last night of four performers who know Golden Globe Love biblically. They know its scent, its desperation, its passion, its tenderness, even its cool rebukes (well, not Jennifer Lawrence yet. So far it's all rose petals and til death do us part promises). Denzel Washington received his third Golden Globe (the Cecil B Demille), Jennifer Lawrence received her third consecutive Globe for working with David O. Russell. And those Titanic lovebirds Kate Winslet & Leonardo DiCaprio received their fourth and third Globe trophies respectively.

The single best bit of the night actually skewered our obsession with more and more that awards shows and statistical madness thrive on. Jim Carrey was killing it as he perpetually described himself as two time Golden-Globe winning actor Jim Carrey.

More...

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Saturday
Sep192015

Washington's August Wilson Deal

Manuel here with some big Denzel Washington news. While talking at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Washington revealed he has signed a deal with HBO to bring all ten of August Wilson’s plays to the screen. Yes, all ten!

More...

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Sunday
Sep282014

Denzel Still Rules The (Box Office) World. But Why No Artistic Risks?

Is there any movie star more consistent than Denzel? Pro: No matter what he makes, it opens big. Con: Maybe that's because he's just not a risk taker. He may be our least adventurous megastar.

TOP O' THE BOX OFFICE
1 EQUALIZER $35 million NEW
2 MAZE RUNNER $17.5 (cum. $58) Review
3 BOXTROLLS $17.2 million NEW best animation studio right now

On the stage he only appears in time-tested prestige pieces (Raisin in the Sun and August Wilson or Shakespeare plays). Onscreen he only makes two kinds of movies: disposable action thriller flicks & would-be prestige dramas. The Equalizer, adapted from a television series, is obviously one of the former. People won't remember he made it in a couple of years as a newer model surfaces to replace it. 

Washington hasn't altered this pattern in twenty years -- take a look for yourself if you don't believe me -- unless you count his curiousity about directing (both of his efforts were pitched towards awards gold but neither The Great Debaters nor Antwone Fisher won Oscar nominations). In the first decade or so of his stardom things were a teensy-bit rangier since the prestige pieces were sometimes full-fledged costume dramas (he doesn't do those anymore really) and the mainstream flicks were sometimes romantic (nix on that, too, nowadays). There were even one or two comedies (gasp)!

It'd be nice if he got the balance better. Many major stars try the '1 for them, 1 for me' approach to maintain both audience favor and critical ardor. But it's easy intead to imagine that Denzel Washington's preferred pattern of '5 for them, 1 for Oscar' might actually be a result of 'all for me'; maybe he just has extremely limited taste in movies? It wouldn't be the first time a bonafide superstar had no interest in cinema as art

Viola and Denzel in their 2010 Tony winning roles. The following year Viola won box office gold with The Help. But still no film version of FENCES.

Still as he tops the charts yet again with another violent man-fantasy, one wishes he would use his clout for good. Why isn't he using that financial and creative muscle to push important work to the screen? Couldn't he at least do the right thing in a completely self-serving way? Why not try for a third Oscar for Fences? Supposedly he's going to direct and star in it but things never seem to get moving towards actual filming and there've been rumors that he's doing it for roughly, oh, ever. Denzel and Viola Davis, his original co-star, who has more than earned another big screen big opportunity lead role after the box office / awards success of The Help, both won Tonys on stage. What's more it's positively insane that nobody ever adapts August Wilson's plays for the big screen. Viola has starred in three of them on Broadway, winning two Tonys in the process. Why isn't this a primary mission for the actor to get at least a few of them on the big screen - preferrably with Viola starring - since he has more money than God, they're important works in African American history, and he also produces now?! 

Denzel could get Fences done quickly if that's what he really cared about getting done. There is no way that the money wouldn't be there immediately if he said "sure I'll do that action movie. But Fences is what I'm doing next. And until I do it no more waving guns around for you!" There is nobody who isn't an idiot in Hollywood who would say no to helping him get it done with gazillions for more gunplay on the line the following fiscal year.

But back to the now ~ What did you see this weekend?

Tuesday
Aug192014

Tues Top Ten: Hottest Hotties of 1989

Here's abstew to continue our celebration of 1989 as the 'year of the month'. Happy 25th, 1989!

As we look back at 1989 in preparation for the Smackdown, it's important not to forget what the movies have always been about: really attractive people. The Me Decade of the 80's, perhaps the greatest/craziest time in regards to fashion and hairstyles, if they taught us anything at all, it isn't that less is more. Oh, no. More is MORE! More shoulder pads, more eye shadow, more crunchy perms with mall bangs. So let's celebrate the 80's excess with these cinematic hotties of 1989. 

Honorable Mention: Julia Roberts "Blush and Bashful Hottie", Daniel Day-Lewis "Method Actor Hottie", Meg Ryan "I'll Have What She's Having Hottie", Kenneth Branagh "New Shakespearian Hottie", Nicole Kidman "Just An Ozzie Girl On a Boat With Billy Zane Hottie"

10. Sean Connery

You Call This Archeology Hottie

Why Him: The once and eternally forever Bond star proved that even at the age of 59, he could still make the ladies swoon when he played Indiana Jones' father in the number one box office hit of 1989, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Romancing women half his age, and even managing to make a tweed travel suit and bow tie as sexy as one of Bond's tuxes, Connery like a fine aged wine, just got better with age.

Sexiest 1989 Moment: People magazine named the Scot The Sexiest Man Alive for its 1989 cover story. The headline hilariously reads, "Older, balder...and better! Here's one leading man who doesn't need to fake it." No word on exactly what other leading men were faking at the time. And apparently John Goodman was up for the title that year, so...yeah. People magazine - the nation's leading authority of unconventional sex appeal.

9. Rosie Perez
(and 8 more sexpots after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug032013

Sex & The Linky

Sound on Sight has a massive post about famous ongoing director/muse collaborations: Liv & Ingmar, Lynch & Dern, Fassbinder & Schygulla, etcetera...
Empire Chris Evans is becoming a director with 1:30 Train, a romantic caper about a woman trying to catch the 1:30 train (with the help of Chris Evans, who will co-star)
Pajiba celebrates the release of 2 Guns. "Boom, you've been Denzel'd"

In Contention 15 awards players still looking for distribution including one I hadn't heard of Tracks with Mia Wasikowska crossing the desert with John Curran (The Painted Veil) directing. I've been thinking that the Best Actress chart is leaning a little 'woman of a certain age' for Oscar's taste (if not for mine) so maybe Mia and are peers are just in hiding right now? 
David Poland says that the bullshit myth is that originals don't make big money at the box office and it's only sequels that did. He backs it up with titles.
Variety Whoa. are the Weinsteins going to get Miramax back. A merger may be in the works
Cinema Blend on the list of possible Bale/Batman replacements for that Superman/Batman team up movie. Surprisingly they're not all super famous with Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Max Martini (Pacific Rim) both on the list. Weirdly there appears to be little thought of Joseph Gordon-Levitt despite that The Dark Knight Rises Robin set up.

You guys, I can't decide if this "What if Woody Allen directed The Wolverine" is funny or not. Help me decide.

I think I'm in the place of LOL without the OL part. So, maybe not? I like it in concept!

/Film Warner Bros is still trying to get that Akira Without Japanese People abomination made.
MNPP The Golden Girls dollhouse? Amazing!
Signs and Sirens hates on Blue Jasmine. My review will be up tomorrow.
Coming Soon Josh Trank says the rumors about Miles Teller being Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four are not true. Good -- I like Miles Teller a lot but he's about 90% wrong for that role -- but it's going to be terrible anyway. Why must Fantastic Four movies be so terrible? 

Finally, I feel I've been remiss in not linking up to Emily Nussbaum's great great rescue piece on "Sex and The City" in The New Yorker. People have been discussing it online for a few days but I hadn't mentioned it. I'm so glad that a writer as scalpel-sharp as Nussbaum is a fan and performs this reputation resuscitation operation. It's too bad that the show's rep suffered after the two theatrical features drifted towards becoming what people always accused the show of being. Which it never truly was. I especially love her (correct) assertion that Carrie Bradshaw was the first female anti-hero on television. Carrie was of course reviled for it whereas her male counterparts in terrible behavior are regularly championed by fans and critics. I know people probably think I harp on gender politics too much here at the blog but what's happened to Sex & The City is a classic example of sexism at work. Canons are one of the best places to see the power of the heteronormative patriarchy thrown into obvious relief. "The greatest this!" and "The greatest that!" lists and the people who make them like critics organizations and awards shows and such often dismiss "feminine" identified films, tv, genre or entertainments as lesser than merely be excluding them from the conversation. But if you can't include "Sex and the City" as one of the shows that was instrumental in ushering in television's golden age -- just as crucial as "The Sopranos" -- you just weren't watching closely enough.

Saturday
Aug032013

A Raisin in the (Hollywood) Sun

Dancin' Dan here with the news that made my week: Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking play A Raisin in the Sun is coming back to Broadway. This news alone might not necessarily be cheer-worthy since it was just revived in 2004 but other than one of the great American plays back on the boards it's the starry cast attached to it that brings the excitement. Denzel Washington will lead the ensemble in the role of Walter Lee Younger which was played by Sidney Poitier on both stage and screen. So Denzel's Training Day Oscar speech continues to be true.

I'll always be chasing you Sidney. I'll always be following in your footsteps. There's nothing I would rather do, sir."

Joining Denzel will be no less than three Oscar or Tony-nominated actresses: Sophie Okonedo (as Walter's wife Ruth, originally played by Ruby Dee), Anika Noni Rose, and Diahann Carroll (as Younger family matriarch Lena, most recently played on Broadway by Phylicia Rashad).

WOW.

Taking a page from Cicely Tyson's book and returning to the stage after 30 years, Carroll is certainly my main draw here, despite Denzel's wonderful Tony-winning turn in August Wilson's Fences which was his last Broadway performance. He said he wanted to do this because his wife was outpacing him on the theater front and he wanted to catch up. Love that healthy competition!

Despite the play's acclaim, the original production of A Raisin in the Sun won none of the four Tony Awards for which it was nominated (it was a crowded year, with The Miracle Worker, The Best Man, and Toys in the Attic all being major players), and while the 2004 revival missed the Best Revival of a Play Tony (which went to Henry IV), it did score nods for its three main actresses, including a win for Phylicia Rashad.

Fun fact: Diahann Carroll was the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (for No Strings in 1962). Can she pull the same trick as Rashad and add one for Drama to her mantle? Can Washington finally catch up to Poitier? Will the third time be the charm for this gem of American drama? We'll find out in April 2014.