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Alicia Vikander cast as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
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Entries in John Travolta (10)

Friday
Apr082016

Sterling K Brown: A Star is Born

As we continue celebrating actors this month, here's Murtada on a new one to cherish. He's our TV MVP this week...

Sarah Paulson brought both pathos and steeliness to spare to her portrayal of Marcia Clark. Courtney B Vance was fiery bluster, daring viewers to take their eyes off him as Johnny Cochran. John Travolta was so infinitely alien as Robert Shapiro that he proved fascinating to watch. Almost every single performance was top notch*. What an ensemble.

And yet the clear standout is Sterling K Brown as Chris Darden.

The finale cemented what everyone watching The People Vs O.J. Simpson suspected throughout the past few weeks; we have a new fantastic actor to be excited about. The calm authority he brought to Darden’s closing argument alone should earn him a lot of accolades. Yet he wasn’t finished. At the post-verdict press conference, he goes about delivering a heartfelt speech and then in a split second he realizes words don’t matter, that’s when Brown breaks our hearts. He walks towards the Goldmans with a hunched back and overcome emotions, his body clearly telling us that’s a defeated man. No that’s not all of it. He then earns more of our admiration in his final standoff with Vance. Again bringing an eerie calm to Darden’s final testament.Through him the show delivers its statement about our current world.

Then there’s his final scene scene with Paulson; clasping hands as they walk away as Nina Simone begins to sing. Throughout the series Brown displayed palpable chemistry with his co-stars. The rat-a-tat of give and take acting with both Vance and Paulson, so riveting to watch. But also more. Didn’t you swoon when he took Paulson into his arms for a dance? Their chemistry is already generating both headlines and obsessive fandom! He’s not only a great actor but perhaps a matinee idol? Those don’t come along that often. I bet a lot of us would look at Brown the way Paulson’s looking at him in the photo above if we got the chance.

We shall be seeing a lot more of Sterling K Brown, starting with the Emmys in September. Have you watched the finale?

*I would’ve said all if it wasn’t for Cuba Gooding Jr.

Thursday
Sep102015

Women's Pictures - Amy Heckerling's Look Who's Talking

For some as of yet unexplained reason, 1980s American movies experienced a baby boom. Movies about family are always popular, but from about 1983 to 1995, the box office went gaga for babies. Mr. Mom, 3 Men and a Baby, Raising Arizona, and even Junior showed that for a brief period of time, there was nothing funnier or more heartwarming in Hollywood than people who didn't want kids suddenly becoming parents. Amy Heckerling jumped onto this baby buggy bandwagon with her freshman screenwriting effort, Look Who's Talking.

Talking babies are now almost passe as a conceit, thanks to Real Baby Geniuses, Rugrats, and those creepy e*trade Superbowl ads. But in 1989, the idea was new enough for Roger Ebert to point it out in his 3 star review of the film. Still, minus the talking baby (voiced by Bruce Willis and only audible to the audience), the rest of Look Who's Talking is formulaic in the classic romcom way - there's a Meet Cute, then Opposites Attract, an Unlikely Romance starts, which ends in a Romantic Reveal and the requisite Happy Ending, all of which is predictable from the minute Kirstie Alley's water breaks in the back of John Travolta's taxi.

None of this is necessarily a bad thing. Amy Heckerling's talents as a director are of the kind that we don't usually reward with golden statues or the word "auteur." [More after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb272015

The Likeliest Culprits in The Pearl Dress Thievery

Previously in Oscar Fashion Discussions
- Reader Poll Supporting plus Viola, Jessica, Scarlett
Reader Poll Actress plus Kidman, Blanchett,  Robbie

 

...and just when y'all thought we were done talking Oscar night fashions.

As you may have heard that amazing pearl dress worn by Lupita Nyong'o was stolen from her hotel room. My first thought was "but where could you even wear that?  Everyone will know and you're not going to look as good as Lupita anyway!" but then a more basic bitch realization: oh right, THOUSANDS of pearls. Supposedly 6,000 of them in all and unmarked and the dress is worth something like $150,000. Or, probably more than Lupita was paid for co-starring in 12 Years a Slave back before she was a household name, Oscar winner and instant fashion icon.

Theories abound but here are TFE's three best guesses as to the culprit. 

01. THAT CREEPER who was lurking around the actresses all night. Suspicious!*


02 THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. Consider the facts: She WAS at the Dolby that night. She IS cultivating a "Modern" bad girl image. She DOES have a thing for pearls.

03 URSULA. Her rep declares the allegations unfounded and insulting. "On the whole she's been a saint."

*Scarlett Johansson is now a character witness so it looks like he's off the hook.

Saturday
Jan172015

The Links

The Wrap Emily Blunt is joining Charlize Theron to double the evil sorceress perfection that terrorizes Chris Hemsworth in The Huntsman. Now I suddenly want to see it.
MNPP Whatever happened to Sean Maher (Firefly). Jason has the answer 
Vulture John Travolta without his hairpiece. Ditch it permanently, John. Bald is beautiful. Or at least more beautiful than pretending you have hair (you did have a great head of it) when you no longer do. 
THR Michael Keaton in talks to star in a "gritty" drama from John Lee Hancock (who, tbh, we don't associate with "gritty" since he made The Rookie and The Blind Side*) called The Founder about the rise of McDonalds and behind the scenes shady business. It sounds like there are three good male roles so I wonder who will join Keaton? Can I put in a request for Edward Norton. I want them to become a new movie duo - so great together!
THR Good idea, Tom Cruise. Reuniting with your Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman. That was your best movie in ages 
The Stake on the 10 most profitable movies of 2014: horror, comedy, YA and even two heavily CG movies  

 

Oscar Oscar
Wired fact-checking Oscar morning outrage tweets 
The Dissolve the "Critics Choice" Awards righting Oscar wrongs. (But, in fairness, true fact: we voted before the nominations so these achievements are entirely accidental) 
Cinesnark is angry about the Selma snubbings -- a feeling which is going around and which will definitely in the future, no fuck that, RIGHT NOW make the Academy look bad -- though I would actually disagree on one point: I don't actually think the Screenplay deserved a nomination in that, I think there were five better. The movies power is in its direction, staging, cast, and feelings of immediacy despite being from the past. I think the screenplay actually has a few clunky bits.
Interview Jennifer Lawrence interviews Eddie Redmayne. I love this bit:

REDMAYNE: Do you ever watch dailies? 

LAWRENCE: No. Unless I keep getting the same note and I'm obviously not getting it, then I'll watch it again on the monitor. But, oh my God, did you watch rushes of this? 

REDMAYNE: We sort of had to, because we were jumping in and out of all these different time periods and trying to track the illness and the physical decline. I had an iPad with all the documentary footage of Stephen and then we had the dailies. I kept hoping that the two things were going to meet, but obviously they never did. [laughs]

It's fun to remember occasionally that big stars are actually directed and get 'ur doing it wrong' notes, isn't it? 


Old But Not Stale!
Slate details how a bad Jennifer Aniston movie turned into an Oscar Cinderella story. Really interesting piece except for that this Cinderella got stuck living with the stepmother Prince Oscar never found her with that one shoe. 
Nick's Flick Picks I never read Nick's annual liveblog until I've fully moved on from my Globe coverage because it's just too intimidatingly funny. It's my dessert that I have to force myself to wait to devour. This is my favorite part at the moment:

8:56: I feel like it's brutal to transition immediately from the Affair producer's advocacy for "how important our marriages are" to Catherine Zeta-Jones's entrance. But CZJ does brutal plenty well herself. "They're having a well-deserved party" is unmistakably a Welsh phrase meaning, "These bitches need to get out of my light!"

*This is not meant as snark. I liked The Rookie a lot. It's just meant as "he's not a gritty director"

Friday
Aug222014

Look Who's Talking (1989) and the Perils of Revisiting Childhood Faves

Hello everyone, Manuel here jumping aboard my personal DeLorean and taking a trip to 1989 to catch up with what’s still Amy Heckerling’s biggest box office success, the comedy Look Who's Talking.

There's a certain joy and sadness in revisiting films you remember enjoying as a kid. Some, because of their continued playback on cable or at your own home theater, seem to age with you so that their flaws become endearing while their wonders become treasures you hoard as if they were intended just for you. In this, films can be like old friends. Catching up with one you haven’t seen in over a decade can be a terrifying prospect. Have they aged well? Do you still share the same sense of humor? Will there be awkward silences where there were laughs before?

Much like its stock male lead, Look Who’s Talking is a flawed, sloppy, lovable creature. It may feature the scariest CGI baby that side of Ally McBeal, but at its heart it’s a funny rom-com that handles its “women having it all!” plot with aplomb. Heckerling’s quippy film follows Mollie (Kristie Alley) whose married lover (George Segal) knocks her up, refuses to divorce his wife for her (doing so instead for his younger interior decorator), leaving her to raise young Mikey by herself. John Travolta plays James, a roguish cab driver who after helping Mollie deliver her son, begins babysitting for her and well… you can probably guess where the film eventually lands. Certain things have aged better than others. The performances still shine. Proving why they were stars before they were Kathy Griffin punchlines, Travolta and Kristie show that a great rom-com needs great chemistry at its center to succeed. Indeed, Travolta’s on-screen charisma remains undeniable whenever he’s dancing while Alley’s comedic timing shows why she was a sitcom superstar. And that doesn’t even cover the presence of always welcome Olympia Dukakis who proves she can do raucously funny no-nonsense mom in her sleep. My favorite exchange from the film is Mollie asking her mom why she married her father:

-He looked good in a uniform.

-Yes, but didn’t they all look good in uniform?

-No... I didn’t care for the sailors and their bell-bottoms!”

It’s all in the delivery, but there’s a spark in Heckerling’s script that is undeniable. The same cannot be said for the central conceit of the film. Hearing Bruce Willis’s voice as Mikey’s inner monologue is as bizarre as it sounds and adds very little to the film as a whole; maybe this explains the diminishing returns of the film's two sequels which relied more heavily on its voice actors (Roseanne Barr, Diane Keaton and Danny DeVito) and thus on its rickety gimmick?

Mikey, voiced by Bruce Willis

If Look Who’s Talking is indeed an old friend, it’s one I’ll be unlikely to catch up with any time soon. She's just as nice as I remember her, if not as funny but her schtick gets old very soon (am I the only one impervious to cute kids in films unless they're named Richie and are (s)mothered by Julianne Moore?). Now I’m scared to see other old friends from that time (I’m looking at you Willow!) for fear I'll be just as disappointed.

What childhood staple have you revisited recently? Are there films better left as untouched warm memories of sitting around with friends in party hats while celebrating one's sixth birthday?

Monday
Mar032014

The Best Tweets of Oscar Night

And if Matthew McConaughey can be his own hero, I can include some of my own tweets, too! But I'll be sure to thank God as well because everything i have comes fro...

 

 

I share the tweets primarily because Ellen DeGeneres made history last night with this selfie... which isn't really a selfie because Bradley Cooper took it ...although maybe not because that's a really wide view for a selfie. And there were other versions of this picture suggesting multiple cameras, like the one I tweeted below. a selfie that's not really a selfie that contains multitudes and all of our fantasies and dreams... and Lupita's brother.

 

 

 

FUN TWEETS after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec062012

Once Upon a Time in the Link

I have been remiss at sharing good stories and posts from around the web so I hereby return to it.

Pop Matters Jose takes another look at Marion Cotillard's work in Rust & Bone and contemplates Oscar
Pop Elegantarium Alexa loves the screwball comedy of David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook 
Sam Hiti Once Upon a Time in the West fans should check out this artists tumblr 
The Hot Blog David Poland on the NYFCC winners
Cinema Blend two Woody Allen classics coming to Blu-Ray this January 


EW top ten lists from popular critics Owen (Lincoln @ #1) & Lisa (Zero Dark Thirty @ #1). They both choose one Oscar hopeful among their "5 worst of the year" lists, too.
E! Online Rose McGowan is the latest actress trying to achieve Michelle Pfeiffer's now immortal Scarface look 
Antagony & Ecstasy wonderful piece on Life of Pi by one of the web's best critics 
The Carpet Bagger talks to the editor of Flight about the plane crash scene 
My New Plaid Pants who wore it best: animated decapitation
In Contention I totally forgot to mention the Golden Satellite nominations. Lots of love for Les Miz but also weird nominations for films that never opened in the States like Kim Ki-Duk's Piéta so I'm not sure what their criteria is for eligibility anymore

Coming Soon Anne Hathaway recently burst into tears when asked about doing a Catwoman spinoff, adding

...assuming there was enough Kleenex in the world, I would love to do a spin-off

 

 


Vulture Speaking of Anne Hathaway. Sort of. a screening of Les Misérables that I would've killed to be it for Academy and Globe members. Hugh Jackman sang and lap danced for birthday girl Amanda Seyfried 
Gawker on the 13 most powerful images of naked celebrities for 2012 
In Contention Pedro Almodóvar, as you know my favorite living filmmaker, will be getting an Academy tribute in London. I'm so jealous of Guy Lodge right now who gets to attend these London events
Stale Popcorn Glenn on Australia's film award nominations (formerly AFI and now called AACTA) . The musical The Sapphires leads.
Cinema Blend Casey Affleck stayin' creepy. He aims to play the Boston Strangler in a new film 

Finally, Grease superstars of yore, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John made a new video together for their Christmas album.

No comment. My inner child loves Livvy & Grease too much to comment. (Other than that John Travolta who not so unrecently commanded $20 million a movie maybe could have spared two hundred thousand dollar bills so this didn't look like it was made for two!)