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Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

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SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Entries in gender politics (117)

Sunday
May172015

The Age of Mad Max's Perfect Pitch

"We're Back Pitches!"

Actually EVERYONE was back this weekend in the sequel-saturated landscape. The nice surprise is that it was totally infused with girl power. The real kind, not just the lip service kind with "Strong Female Characters" that the boys then rescue. OK, The Scarlet Witch is rescued by The Vision in Age of Ultron, but she brings it in the power department overall and the film just passed the one billion mark worldwide and became the top grosser of 2015 (in the US). But the top two this week were newer 'old' ones. Anna Kendrick and her harmonizing family The Barden Bellas returned to rescue themselves as they headed toward graduation and the world championships. Meanwhile Mad Max: Fury Road won the hearts of critics with its surprisingly feminist storyline and ambitous action setpieces. The film essentially has two title characters because the story may start with Mad Max but it's Imperator Furiosa in the driver's seat and she's taking this franchise down roads it's never been down before. Charlize Theron once again reminds the world that she's every bit as strong an action star as any man (and considering that Blunt, Jolie, and Johansson are also aces in this department, there are surely others who could carry an action picture if given the chance these actresses have had). 

And "They" say nobody will go see female superheroes. That's what all of these bitches are, you regressive studio execs! WAKE UP. Fund more female-driven movies. 

TOP TEN BOX OFFICE
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Pitch Perfect 2 $70.3 NEW
02 Mad Max: Fury Road $44.4 NEW Review
03 Avengers: Age of Ultron $38.8 (cum. $372)  Review & Marathon & Podcast
04 Hot Pursuit $5.7 (cum. $23.5) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $3.6 (cum. $62.9)
06 Furious 7 $3.6 (cum. $343.8)  Review 
07 Age of Adaline $3.2 (cum. $37) 
08 Home $2.7 (cum. $165.6)
09 Ex Machina $2.1 (cum. $19.5)  Review
10 Far From the Madding Crowd $1.3 (cum. $2.6) 

NEW LIMITED RELEASES
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Where Hope Grows $490,000 (276 Theaters)
02 Good Kill $17,000 (2 Theaters)
03 I'll See You in My Dreams $16,000 (3 Theaters)
04 In the Name of My Daughter $14,000 (3 Theaters)
05 Animals $12,000 (10 Theaters)
06 The Connection $9,800 (2 Theaters)

In truly perplexing news, who is still buying tickets to Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 when there are this many good movies in theaters of pretty much all genres !?

In 'Less Likely To Be At a Theater Near You' news, Far From the Madding Crowd had a great weekend, vaulting into the top ten with an expansion despite still being in a few thousand less theaters than everything else in the top ten. 

Kim Shaw and David Dastmalchian in "Animals"

Of the other new releases, we hope y'all will go see ANIMALS. It's true we're biased in favor of the movie since the film's screenwriter/star David Dastmalchian guest blogged here just recently and I had the pleasure of moderating their Q&A here in NYC this weekend at the Village East cinema. But you don't have to take my word for it since it was a big hit at SXSW and also has the thumbs up from critics. It's currently available for download and playing theatrically in NYC, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Miami, Columbus, and Los Angeles. Next week it adds Chicago, where it was filmed and where many of its actors are from, to the list so if you live in Chicago head to the Gene Siskel next weekend! I told Dastmalchian that it seems terribly fitting that I went to the movie specifically to see him work a rare leading role and I came out appreciating not just him but actors I wasn't yet familiar with in other much smaller roles, the kind he used to get noticed for.

Friday
May152015

Mad Links on Furiosa's Road

Animals The Film this addiction romantic drama opens today in 8 cities. Go see it!
...David Dastmalchian, who so kindly guest-blogged for us, stars (and wrote it). He'll be doing a Q&A at tonight's screening at Village East 7:45 PM for those of you in NYC.
AV Club Anne Hathaway to star in a sci-fi monster movie called Colossal wherein she'll be psychically linked to the big monster
The Screenblog  Interview with the costume designer on Kate Winslet's The Dressmaker

Weekend Must Read
I know you shouldn't feed the trolls but this article from the MRA blog "Return of Kings" about why you should boycott Mad Max Fury Road because it's feminist is great great comedy. Unintentionally but that hardly matters when there are so many laughs to be had. My favorite part is the whining about ruining this great "piece of American culture" [slaps forehead] D'Oh. It's an Australian franchise, dumbass!

MNPP in a 'Ways Not To Die' post celebrating Mad Max, Jason sneaks in a little 'George Miller always cared about women' message 

Hollywood's Ongoing Diversity Issues
Moviefone More embarrassing news for Hollywood's anti-woman issues. Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, supporting players on Grace and Frankie, are making the same thing as Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the star attractions. What the F***?!? 
Heat Vision Fox developing The New Mutants, which was an X-Men spinoff back in the day. I wouldn't expect them to stick with its extremely diverse original lineup, because Lord knows when the X-Men was adapted it got a lot less diverse and way more narrowly obssessed with three alpha (white) males: Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto
Women in Hollywood The DGA is part of the problem when it comes to underemployment of women
The Guardian Ava DuVernay might direct Marvel's Black Panther. since Marvel is looking for something more "diverse" and that word is apparently an actual quote? She seems like a weird fit since she excels at performance and humanistic drama and surely she has better things to do. Still, just when you hoped you could stop caring about superhero news this comes along. Obviously we'd watch it despite waning interest from the superhero glut.

Mad Men List Mania
Arts.Mic has a "definitive" listing of best characters with Peggy Olson, Don Draper, and Joan Holloway right where they belong in the top 3.
Rolling Stone same concept but with a different order and much love for Roger Sterling and the long departed Sal Romano in the top ten!
Esquire 100 Ways Mad Men might end. It says a lot about the show that with only 1 episode left it still retains its mysteries
Salon the 10 best Mad Men episodes from 'The Other Woman' (Joan showcase) to 'Babylon' (Peggy showcase)

Showtune Hot Song To Go
Matthew Eng reminded me of this. God I love this. Wouldn't it be great to see Maya Rudolph's PRINCE(ss) live?

 

Friday
May082015

Revenge of the 80s ~ Now With More 10s Sexism!

When the red band trailer for the revival (not a reboot but a long distant "next generation" sequel) of Vacation premiered yesterday, with Chris Hemsworth swinging a big fake one around for a cheap laugh, it got me to thinking about how phallic-centric Hollywood has become. This is no new thinkpiece notion of course. But with the incredible amount of material from the 1980s that Hollywood has been mining and regurgitating, we're getting about the sharpest resolution picture possible of how Hollywood has regressed in terms of equal opportunities for female stars. Hollywood has always had its share of sexism but today's Hollywood seems especially female-averse. How did it happen exactly? Hollywood will reboot ANYTHING from the 1980s. So long as it did not star a woman. No, not even if it was a smash hit. They won't do it... although they will allow those titles to be remade for television if you're really desperate to see them revamped. 

To prove the point here are a list of the most successful 1980s movies starring women. I only looked at the top 25 or so box office hits from each year of the 1980s. To give you a contemporary correlative of their success that's like from the tippity top American Sniper sized behemoth down to the Lucy-sized hit levels last year if you pretend that each year is roughly the same as the last in terms of gross domestic box office.

Disclaimer: This list should in no way be mistaken as a plea to remake these pictures -- we have more than enough remakes. We need original material!  It's just to make a point. 

40 BIGGEST HITS LED BY WOMEN IN THE 80S
(in very rough order of success) 

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Wednesday
May062015

Mad Men @ the Movies: "Lost Horizon"

Lynn Lee, back again with Mad Men at the Movies.

With just two episodes left, “Mad Men” still has too much business to wrap up to spend much time on or at the movies.  But it’s surely no accident that the title of this week’s episode was “Lost Horizon” – a reference that’s popped up before on this show, but never with such direct resonance.

Lost Horizon, a bestselling novel written by James Hilton (who also penned Goodbye, Mr. Chips) between the two world wars, was made into a successful 1937 movie starring Ronald Colman and is most famous for introducing Shangri-La, fabled utopia of blissful ease and tranquility.  But while Shangri-La may be a haven, it’s also a prison—and, even within the narrative of Lost Horizon, possibly an illusion.  The entire plot is driven by a plan to deceive and kidnap a small group of random strangers and bring them by force to Shangri-La, where they each react very differently to what it offers them.

The parallels are obvious as our Sterling Cooper survivors gingerly transition to their new roles at McCann Erickson.  More...

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Tuesday
May052015

Links: And Alice Faye's Centennial

The Dissolve Emily Blunt is finally revving back up her career. After Sicario she's headlining Bronco Belle
Guardian Ryan Gosling, ever the good sport about internet memes, finally eats his cereal, and a cancer fund is created to memorialize the meme creator
Empire the very busy young actor Will Poulter case as Pennywise in the new  version of Stephen King's "It"
Awards Watch I was the special guest on their latest podcast defending my first wave of predictions, particularly why I got behind Sicario and am hesitant on Carol.

Film Actually 20 most anticipated performances (I keep forgetting about Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong)
In Contention speaking of Foster, he's got a new film Comancheria, just picked up by CBS Films. Think they'll change the title before release? I'm taking bets.
Playbill If you've never seen Broadway darling and sometime TV & film player Kristin Chenoweth in concert, do NOT miss her tour. I've seen her like four times live and she's magic. It starts in August and she's hitting 17 states so see if any shows are near you!
MNPP who wore it best (skin suits edition): The Vision or Robbie Williams? 
The Dissolve has a cute Gremlins filled video about the history of the PG rating.  
Variety the rapping Granny from The Wedding Singer has died at 101 years of age 
Previously TV Joe Reid guests for a RPDR recap of the "prancing queens' episode. good stuff 
/Film Joss Whedon explains that messy Thor in the pool business from Age of Ultron (the more we hear about the making of the movie the more disastrous it sounds from an executive interference level; this can't be a good sign for the movies going forward.) 

It's the Black Widow's World. Marvel Just Doesn't Know It Yet.
Washington Post on "Black Widow's Feminist Heroism" - a great response to the weird outrage criticisms despite her film-rescuing place in those movies
Think Progress on further linked e-mails which show Hollywood's absolute sexism and stupidity about female heroes, they think Elektra and Catwoman are the best that can be done? Yikes!
Pajiba also Jeremy Renner doubles down on his sorry not sorry douchery about calling Black Widow a slut
Polygon would watch ScarJo's Black Widow Romantic Comedy via SNL. (as would I)  

Showtune(s) to go ~ Happy Alice Faye Centennial
When I revisited the Oscar nominated In Old Chicago (1937) a couple of years ago  I was a bit dismissive of Alice Faye, a major 30s film star (who isn't so well remembered today) who played Tyrone Power's conquest.  After more investigation the appeal has become far more obvious and since May 5th is her Centennial you definitely have 5 minutes to give her major voice - that's a memorably warm deep contralto. Here she is in two incarnations as a pre-code bad girl singing about 'Fooling with The Other Woman's Man' in Now I'll Tell (1934) looking like a visual inspiration for Madonna's future Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy. And then in a more traditionally romantic Technicolor light in Weekend in Havana (1941) with John Payne (Tyrone Power and then John Payne? lucky girl) singing "Tropical Magic"

Saturday
May022015

Observations from the Ultimate Marvel Marathon

So, as those of you who read every post know, I attended the Ultimate Marvel Marathon from Wednesday to Thursday night. The AMC staff was very present and high energy and it was a fairly well run event. The best part was that once you were seated, you got to keep that seat for the duration so if you wanted a sleeping break, you could have it and when you came back your seat was still there for you! Magic.

The only super gross part? How filthy with popcorn and garbage the theater got by the end as their were no cleaning breaks. Here's my Age of Ultron review but if you're curious about the general marathon event. Read on.

Herewith a few casual observations from the Marathon as well as some impromptu lists

THE EVENT SCHEDULE 

6:00pm IRON MAN (2008)
Twas curious to see this again knowing what it spawned, and how confident it was that it would be spawning it since it ends with an Avengers tease (then still 4 years away). It's also alarmingly sexist which I had kind of forgotten with Leslie Bibb in an awful role as a Vanity Fair reporter.


8:25pm 
THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
This was the film I had the vaguest memory of. Tim Roth makes a committed villain but once he's CGI he's no longer special. Edward Norton is like the opposite body type of Mark Ruffalo so that's an interesting casting switcheroo. It was also funny to notice that they used to paint abdominal muscles on the actors as opposed to making them workout for months prior to filming; things changed quickly as superheroes began to dominate pop culture. P.S. Liv Tyler's voice sure is breathy!

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

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