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Entries in Halle Berry (13)


Jared Leto and the Art of Disavowing Your Film

by Kieran Scarlett

You may have read earlier this week Jared Leto’s claims that he was “tricked" into doing Suicide Squad. These claims of course came in the wake of the film’s poor critical reception and steep box office drop off after its opening weekend. In a nutshell, Leto alleges that he initially believed the film would be much a much more artistic outing than what was on the screen and he feels duped. Now, we could certainly sit here and speculate how (with whole plot details and often times entire scripts being leaked online to the lay public prior to a film’s release) the arguable star of a major motion picture could ever be tricked into thinking the film was X when it’s really Y. But rather than unpacking that dubious version of events and the spinning and "taken out of context" responses there’s something else that needs to be addressed here—the art of shifting the blame for your participation in a critically panned film.

There’s a way to do it tactfully and believably, without the claims seeming like sour grapes. It’s a one-step process. It’s incredibly easy to remember and it will help actors avoid the side-eyes that Jared Leto and his claims are surely receiving. Here it goes...

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Half Century Halle (and other anniversaries)

On this day in history as it relates to showbiz...

1040 King Duncan is killed in battle and King Macbeth succeeds him. Shakespeare fictionalizes everything later for Macbeth. So many theatrical productions and movies follow. Out damn spot!
1932 The 1932 Summer Olympics end. This is the Olympic year when gorgeous Buster Crabbe became a gold medalist (pictured left). Hollywood then snatched him right up for movie serials and action adventure franchises including Tarzan The Fearless
1945 Japan surrenders during WW II (the six year war will last only two more weeks.) but movie makers all over the world have never stopped telling the war's infinite stories. On that same day Steve Martin is born in Waco Texas. It only takes him another 68 years to get the Oscar he totally deserved

1946 Two actor birthdays: Blacksploitation actor Antonio Fargas who became "Huggybear" on TV's popular Starksy & Hutch and Susan Saint James TV of McMillan & Wife with Rock Hudson in the 1970s and Kate & Allie with Jane Curtin in the 1980s
1959 Marcia Gay Harden materializes in LaJolla California, presumably already perfect 
1963 Emmanuelle Béart, Manon of the Spring herself, and 8 time César nominee is born in France. On the same day in Los Angeles Clifford Odets dies from stomach cancer. Many luminaries of stage and screen visit beforehand. He came to fame as a highly political playwright (four of his works became movies: Golden Boy, Clash By Night, The Big Knife, and The Country Girl). He was also fond of the actresses: married to Luise Rainer during her back-to-back Oscar wins and also took up with Frances Farmer -- he's played by Jeffrey DeMunn in the 1982 biopic Frances.
1965 Jane Fonda marries director/producer Roger Vadim. Together they cook up Barbarella (1968) which lasts forever unlike the marriage

Halle Berry Instagrammed this a month ago. 50 is apparently the new 30 for the extraordinarily beautiful people.

1966 Superstar Halle Berry is born in Cleveland. Becomes the first African-American Miss World contestant twenty years later. Hits the movies 5 years after that with Spike Lee's Jungle Fever  as auspicious debut. Happy half century to the Best Actress winner.
1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show gets its world premiere in London. It's the longest running film in theaters since it still shows regularly at many moviehouses around the world for weekly midnight screenings.
1980 Dorothy Stratten, a nude centerfold, is murdered by her boyfriend. The story was adapted to screen starring Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts by the genius Bob Fosse in Star '80 (1983), the influential artist's last film. 
1983 Mila Kunis is born in the Ukraine of the Soviet Union. Moves to Los Angeles seven years later and by the age of 11 she's already on TV
1987 Can't Buy Me Love opens in movie theaters. No one could possibly expect that nerdy Dempsey would reemerge years later into a sexy mature leading man that everyone called "McDreamy"

1992 Single White Female opens in movie theaters
1998 How Stella Got Her Groove Back starring Angela Bassett who still had hers (before she lost it and got it back heyyyy) hit movie theaters
2004 The cinematographer Neal Fredericks of sleeper phenomenon The Blair Witch Project (1999) dies suddenly in a plane crash on location for a film
2009 District 9 opens in the US, becomes a huge hit, and even goes on to Oscar nominations including Best Picture in one of the most surprising Oscar years ever (since no one knew when the year began that they'd shift to 10 Best Picture nominees and the studios definitely hadn't prepared for it.)


Mission: Impossible - trying to catch up with all the new movies

We've opted to do the home viewing news bi-weekly so as not to clog the feed up with lists of product. Some weeks are awfully spare. But here's what's new or newish on DVD/BluRay and streaming if your TV is big.

New DVD or BluRay
Ant-Man -In which Paul Rudd steals a magic suit and Becomes a Better Man. (Tim's review)
Downhill Racer -The 1969 Robert Redford / Gene Hackman skiing drama gets the Criterion treatement
Fantastic Four -If only it were streaming because everyone deserves the opportunity to see how terrible this is ...without paying for it. My only "F" of the year and that is not a cute play on the title. (Tim's slightly more generous review)
He Named Me Malala -Currently seeking a Best Documentary Oscar nomination.
Maze Runner The Scorch Trials -Please don't tell me that there are a ton of books and they're going to split the last one into two movies
Minions -Despicable Me sure created a monster. Well, millions of tiny yellow pop culture devouring monsters. (Tim on the phenomenon)
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation -one of the year's most enjoyable surprises. Although we shouldn't have been surprised since Ghost Protocol was also topnotch. (Tim's Review)
Speedy - Harold Lloyd's last silent comedy gets the Criterion treatment
Ted 2 -Mark Wahlberg makes a sequel to his magic teddy bear blockbuster and curiously, despite slobbering all over the first one, no one cared

TV Seasons
Hannibal (S3 Final) in which Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen draw bloody hearts around each other's names in their notebooks
Extant (S2 Final) Can someone please stop the casting of Halle Berry in genre fare. Genre acting is not remotely within her acting skill set. Ladies and gentlemen, I present as evidence: X-Men franchise, Catwoman, and S1 of Extant. I rest my case.
Transparent (S2 on Amazon Prime Streaming) In which we return to the emotional chaos of the Pfefferman children and their trans father Maura (birth name Mort) played by Emmy-winning Jeffrey Tambor. Have you watched S2 yet? I'm trying to slowly savor it after loving every second of Season 1.

The endearing emotionally slippery family of Transparent

New Streaming on Netflix
Phoenix - One of the biggest German hits in recent years. Weird that they didn't submit it for Oscars last year instead of Beloved Sisters. Read Jose's Nina Hoss interview
The Ridiculous Six -- the first film in Netflix's mega multi-picture deal with Adam Sandler
Tangerine - the best comedy of 2015, regardless of what the Globes or Critics Choice claim. Watch it with friends and donuts over Christmas. You'll be so on trend. (Nathaniel's Review)
Xenia - Greece's LGBT Oscar submission about two brothers searching for their birth father


Black History Month: Monster's Ball and Representation

We were just wrapping up Black History Month when I heard from longtime reader/commenter Philip Harville who wanted to discuss Monster's Ball (2001). I wasn't touching that one with a ten foot pole (!) but here's Philip with a guest column on this perpetual hot potato. -Editor


As we know, black films are hard to come by and good black films can be even harder to come by.  This raises the question of what exactly a black film is. Is it simply a film that focuses on black characters? Or do we need to also have a black crew telling the story? The conversations unraveling from that thought are endless, but watching a certain film recently got me thinking. Monster’s Ball’s Leticia (Halle Berry) really suffers from a white male perspective behind the camera. The film gained a wide audience crowning Halle Berry as the first black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar, but did it create the conversation it should have? Good black films aren’t exactly churned out with the frequency of superhero movies (or Tyler Perry movies), so a flawed complicated film is a gift in its own right.

The film isn’t set in a definitive year, though it seems to be in a time where lynching and protesting were out of style, and casual racism has become the norm. We see the generational divide on the issue between the three males in the central family. [More...]

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Yes, No, Maybe So: "X-Men: Days of Future Past"

In my superhero clogged mind, Spider-Man 3 has remained the gold standard of a dubious honor: by the time it had arrived you could justifiably feel like you'd seen the whole movie what with the multiple trailers, numerous clips and stills and two previous features with the exact same cast. X-Men: Days of Future Past has been teasing its teases and characters and counting down to its trailer for what feels like forever but it retains at least some mystery. I hope this is our last taste before the movie opens on May 23rd. It's not likely but I can dream. 

Because I am a glutton for punishment and The X-Men were a huge part of my developmental process as a human being (you don't even want to know how obsessed I was from the ages of, like, 8-18) will do like what we did with Maleficent. A Yes, No, Maybe So™ reaction to (almost) every last piece of the trailer.

Deep breath before the plunge. Okay let's go...

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Six Notes on the Six Second "X-Men" Tease

I don't want to give too much attention to a six second tease of a teaser -- I waited a whole day in fact hoping the urge to say something would pass -- but in the end my childhood hardwiring triumphed. I haven't loved or even much liked an X-Movie in 10 years but I will always love the X-Men, for better or worse. Usually worse. 

So herewith a few thoughts with screencaps from Bryan Singer's tweeting foreplay.

It's a good thing this is a period piece because Professor Xavier's helmet Cerebro is totally irrelevant today. You don't need a mutant locator anymore. The Homo Superior are impossible to miss all smeared across every movie screen and television set and website. Children of the Atom be so ubiquitous in this age of superheroes.

Unfortunately I'm not done blabbering about this yet!

Click to read more ...


The Link Is Not Yet Rated

Vulture features a fascinating memoir about a troubled 70s childhood and the not-optimistic catharsis of TV's 70s superhero show The Incredible Hulk
Awards Daily Sasha never misses a beat with director David Fincher and his new muse Rooney Mara. Have you seen their Calvin Klein ad? What's most shocking about the ad (to me) is that Rooney SMILES in it. Can you imagine? Not the smiling sort at the cinema, you know.
Variety Halle Berry developing an indie comedy called Mother. Her frequent producer is directing but his filmography is suspect!

Zap2It "Giant Colin Firth statue emerges from lake in London's Hyde Park" a most clickable headline, don't you agree?
Awards Circuit wonders where we're not looking for Oscar contenders for this year's race. Any under the radar guesses?
Salon's description of US Weekly in this article about their "zoom-in" interactivity with paparazzi photos of Angelina Jolie's cleavage made me LOL
My New Plaid Pants "do, dump or marry" with the men of Pacific Rim: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnan and Rob Kazinsky
Salon speaks about and to Guillermo del Toro as Pacific Rim, his first film in 5 years if you can believe it given how ubiquitous his name has been in that time frame, nears release

Finally have you heard that Los Angeles banned this Project Runway ad from appearing on billboards? I don't get it.

This nudity is so safe. This is only side cheek nudity. The models aren't even in sexually suggestive poses. But hey, Project Runway has got to do something to get people talking now that it's 12 seasons old. (I hated "TEAMS" so much, I can't even. It really turned me against the show). I think this would have been a much braver funnier and more successful ad if they had all of the new contestants naked and worshipping the hosts. It would have also been more controversial since imperfect regular-person bodies really alarm people. Partially because you don't see them in the media very often. But, tell me, why was this ad banned? I've seen much worse on public display. I didn't even feel the need to hide it "after the jump". But sex, like violence, is a terribly inconsistent thing when it comes to public policy and censorship. TV has adopted film's extremely forgiving and casual relationship with violence now (they'll regularly show things you couldn't see in an anything other than an R rated movie just a couple of decades ago) and I can't any longer get a hold on what you can or can't say in terms of profanity on the small screen. But sex -- it's always sex -- still manages to get people flustered and "that's obscene!" even when it isn't. A few nights ago while channel surfing I chanced upon some sort of reality show wherein the contestants were dropped naked onto deserted islands - like an "Extreme!" riff on Survivor. They even had "Naked"  in the title. And the nakedness was blurred out.