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Entries in Finn Wittrock (14)

Monday
Mar202017

Feud: Bette and Joan. "Mommie Dearest"

Previously
Ch. 1 "Pilot"
Ch. 2 "The Other Woman" 

Feud's writing team is nothing if not devoted to playing to a single theme per episode. All but a couple of scenes in chapter 3 of Feud are devoted to the notion of mothering (though Victor Buono's more generous notion of "legacy" might have been a smarter move for retroactive potency). Or at least the show spends this hour playing with our pre-conceptions of the mothering skills of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. That's evident in the way it pulls the episode title from the infamous Christina Crawford memoir that damned Joan forever in the public eye as a psychopath and child abuser. In one of the earliest scenes we even get a potent reminder of this memoir as Joan pretends she's not going to send Christina a card congratulating her on the opening of a play until she reads reviews, but then signs the card "Mommie Dearest," as soon as two of her other children are out of sight.

I know what you think of my mothering...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar172017

Stage Door: Sally Field in The Glass Menagerie

by Dancin' Dan

This is not your parents' Glass Menagerie.

It's not uncommon for theatrical "reinventions" to take place nowadays. Ivo van Howe has made it into a cottage industry of sorts, creating an intimate, visceral A View From the Bridge and a raw, elemental The Crucible in recent years. Sam Gold is of the same cloth. He made his name with an audacious revival of Look Back in Anger at the Roudabout in 2012, won the Tony in 2015 for his sensitive in-the-round staging of the musical Fun Home, and most recently directed a searing Othello with David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig off Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop.

But all those pieces benefit from a stripped back, in-some-cases radical rethinking. Tennessee Williams's memory play is a much more delicate thing, announcing as narrator Tom Wingfield does right at the start that this is a subjective work of art, a piece of memory that may or may not represent what actually happened. Productions of it generally take after the play's quietest character, the "crippled" Laura - they are generally fragile, gossamer things, as light and airy as a thought or memory hanging in the air in front of us...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug042016

Born in 1984? Oscar doesn't love you (yet)

Since 1984 is our Year of the Month I was prepping a "vintage" list of the people, places, and things birthed that year and was alarmed to realize that I could find ZERO Oscar nominees born that year. Not a one. And I've spent all too much time scouring the web for it.

Actors born in 1984 are 31 or 32 years of age which is plenty of time to secure an Oscar nomination, at least for women. For comparison sake consider that a very quick glance at 1983, no more than one minute of research, turns up at least 5 nominees one of whom won (Lupita N'yongo). The same speedy glance at 1985 reveals 4 nominees instantly. Even 1986 has one that immediately pops out (Lady Gaga for Original Song) though the more recent years naturally have less as the field of contenders gets younger and younger. Unless I'm missing some fast-rising sound editor or makeup artist or some such, Oscar has yet to love any 1984 babies. Poor Millenial babies. If you were born in 1984 does this make you grumpy?

So who do you think will be first? Some options after the jump as well as the saving grace of Tony, Emmy, and Grammy nominees from that 1984 crop.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct062015

12 Questions: A Room with Ultron's View of the XXL Freakshow

It's easy to get lost in future film excitement this time of year. So let's step back for a moment into the now. Here are two handfuls of key new releases on DVD. Answer nine questions about them in the comment party (it's not a party if people don't show up so do RSVP, wont'cha?)

The Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Joss Whedon juggles dozens of powereds but struggles to make the whole as good as all the parts
Q1:  Would you kill me if I went deep on this in a future miniseries? Yes, I'm a crazy person who has already seen it thrice. And yes I speak out loudly about the damaging effects of superhero culture on cinema but... but... but I have this terrible soft spot for all things Captain America

Dark Places the Gillian Flynn adaptation that never seemed to open!
Q2: Are you covering your ears right now delusionally "Charlize Theron only made one movie this year and it was awesome!!!" ?

Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison of Belief in which Alex Gibney (and presumably a team of top HBO lawyers) take on the "Church" of Scientology and its famous disciples
Q3: Did you feel more or less for Tom Cruise in His Bubble after seeing this? 
Q4: Do you think this has a shot at the Documentary Oscar?

Magic Mike XXL in which Channing Tatum and Company attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle without as much flesh peddling
Q5: What is your favorite scene in this movie other than "Chez Andie MacDowell" ? (obvs the best scene)
Q6: Which of the strippers do you most want a lap dance from? 

Dame Besties (Smith/Dench) are pure delight in "A Room With a View"

A Room With a View (Criterion Collection) in which Merchant & Ivory found their breakthrough hit, provided the world with ridiculous amounts of joy (seriously this movie) and helped launch the careers of three-named wonders Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day Lewis in this picturesque influential comedy about stuffy Brits at home and abroad.
Q7:  Will you join us for BEST SHOT on this one if we do it on Wednesday October 14th?

Spy in which Melissa McCarthy gets to star in her own comedy James Bond movie. 
Q8: It's weird to think of McCarthy movies on DVD or BluRay right? They all  feel like they are all made specifically to be on loop on cable channels for years to come until everyone can quote them verbatim.
Q9: Do you know what a sad Bulgarian clown looks like? 

When Marnie Was There in which a lonely young girl is sent to live in the country and encounters a mysterious mansion
Q10: Do you think Studio Ghibli will somehow rally and start making features again? 

Zipper in which Patrick Wilson has trouble keeping it in his pants
Q11: Why didn't they just use that for the tagline? 

TV Seasons
The Leftovers (S1), Jane the Virgin (S1), iZombie (S1), Fresh Off the Boat (S1), Penny Dreadful (S2), Vikings (S3), Grimm (S4), AHS: Freakshow (S4), South Park (S18)

Q12: Do you watch any of those shows or did you stop reading this the second you realized that American Horror Story Freakshow is now on Netflix Instant Watch where you can watch Finn Wittrock oil himself up, bathe in blood, and suck alcholo from nippled baby bottles whenever the mood strikes you?

Monday
Sep282015

YNMS: The Big Short

Manuel here. Every year there are a number of late-breaking releases that suck up all the oxygen in the room, commanding every conversation because of their timeliness. Of course, every year also sees a number of well-made films get lost in the shuffle. Adam McKay’s The Big Short, set to close out the AFI Fest, is obviously hoping for the former. Based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), the film is set against the ticking bomb that was the collapse of the housing market. Does it stack up to other Fall prestige releases? Let's find out by putting it to our patented Yes, No, Maybe So test:

YES

“There’s some shady stuff going down.”

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep202015

Best Emmy Night Tweets

Too exhausted from travel for the typical live blog so we'll just share the best tweets from celebrities, friends and awesome people for the night. So refresh on occasion... 

But first of all here's "Taystee" herself Danielle Brooks. TWIRL, GIRL! 

more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun192015

Who do you link you are?

The Playlist Stop the presses! Nicole Kidman is working with Jane Campion again, probably on her adaptation of The Flame Throwers
Variety interviews Jurassic World's mini-star Ty Simpkins who has quite a resume for a 13 year-old
Kenneth in the (212) Fred MacMurray was once quite a hunk. How did this escape me? 
MNPP Finn Wittrock joins the cast of AHS: Hotel. So after years of supplying only major diva thrills (not complaining), Ryan Murphy is finally supplying massive hunkiness... all of the dark haired pale skin variety: Cheyenne, Finn, Bomer


MNPP reminds us that Starz is greenlighting potentially great stuff to series: Evil Dead and Neil Gaiman's American Gods (have you read that book? So good.)
THR interview with editor on Inside Out
Birth. Movies. Death. on the strangely cruel deaths of Jurassic World 
Playbill composer Andrew Lippa (I saw his oratorio "I Am Harvey Milk" last fall and it was magnificent) is writing a song for Kristin Chenoweth's Maleficent  for that Disney series Descendants
LA Times looks at the Emmy races for Best Comedy - can Modern Family finally be dethroned?
Empire In news that won't surprise anyone anywhere Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks are joining forces for a heroic Oscarbait biopic Captain Sully

Lots o' Fun
Den of Geek "Cats are not Capable of Understanding Rambo: First Blood Part II"
Jezebel "Damn, Meryl Streep is Great at Turning Off the Lights"
Pajiba Annie Golden, mute Norma on Orange is the New Black, used to be a 70s punk rocker

Hero of the Month!
I have to bow down to my friend Tim Brayton (of Tim's Toons right here) whose site Antagony & Ecstasy has always been one of the very best strictly-movie-reviews sites around. As previously noted Tim, who is a cancer survivor, held a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society -- anyone who donated to them via his fundraiser got a review of their choice -- and he raised nearly $5,000 this year! He's not done with all the reviews yet so I don't know what some TFE readers who donated chose but I can see your names in the list. My requested review was this one for Love With the Proper Stranger (1963) starring Natalie Wood. But he reviews whatever is requested so there's lots of variety: The Iron Giant, Evita, Ball of Fire, Meet the Feebles, Grosse Pointe Blank, you name it.

Bitch I'm Madonna
Here is the Queen's newest video with a slew of guest stars*, yes, but the most exciting thing is unquestionably Madonna herself, still flipping off the the ageist and haters -- "we go hard or we go home" and Madonna aint ever goin home, duh! -- with that ombre trashy pink hair, making out with random partygoers, throwing a drink down Jon Kortajarena's throat (as one does), dancing with naked Asian girls. My favorite part is that awesome collapse at the tail end of the video twice over as the party continues to rage on all around and above her. That final long shot when the hotel's candy colored lights go from garish to dreamy with a single cut is also a keeper. Nice work Jonas Akerlund.

*Beyonce looks like she doesn't want to do it -- so they shoulda cut her -- but everyone else gets into it. My least favorite part is the extended Nicki Minaj rap... if only because Nicki isn't actually there. If you're going do a "featuring" role, commit, damnit! Still, I heart "The Snap"'s take on How Madonna convinced these stars to do it.