Weekly tweet roundup for bite-sized amusements or insta-feelings. After the jump... X-Men, Alicia Vikander and goodbyes to Muhammad Ali (RIP) who led such an eventful life and inspired so many that I've lost track of how many documentaries there are about him. Plus that underappreciated Michael Mann biopic.
Entries in Johnny Depp (45)
It's time for reader questions. Here are 10 recently asked I'm opting to answer tonight. Join the conversation in the comments.
INQUIRER: Who do you believe is more worthy of an acting Oscar between Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Johnny Depp, and who do you think is more likely to win one?
This would surprise anyone unfamiliar with the site but Brad Pitt towers over the other two. He's among my all time favorite movie stars. But you've crafted a tricky question because all three men have loyal camps that they've earned. Cruise is the most consistent, always laser focused on Doing His Job in whichever movie. Depp is the most inspired when he's inspired but he's also the laziest. It seems impossible to imagine now but people did not want him to play Pirates like he played it. The studio was concerned. What is he doing? Now people hire him to for Depp shtick and that's what he gives to the point of self parody! Pitt is the most uneven actor among the three but he's also the most endearing, has the best taste, has aged superbly with his talent, and has evolved the most. Years ago I felt certain that all three would eventually be crowned but it's hard to picture now. If any one of them does a moving hit drama when he's an old codger though perhaps he'll get a career achievement prize. If none of them ever win competitively I'd wager that Brad Pitt is the most likely to get an Honorary Oscar.
This might be as good a time as any to tell you (warn you?) that April will be ACTOR MONTH here at the blog. We talk about actresses so much that it's time for a wee curveball. Any requests?
TABITHA: Why do female movie stars now largely seem to be in their 20's or 60's? There seems to be a resistance to embrace middle-aged stars (apart from Sandra Bullock or Charlize Theron).
I blame this phenomenon entirely on sexism and the patriarchy. It's intrinsically tied to the "Last F***able Day" phenomenon that Amy Schumer named so brilliantly. I think once an actress has passed that threshold of straight men being "ewww she's AGING -- how dare she?" and is now just an older person, who for better or for worse are often desexualized in art, it's easier for people to just enjoy their acting again. That's my 100% correct theory. It's also harder for female stars to age because a huge percentage of them are famous in part because of exceptional beauty which is not necessarily true (certainly not percentage wise!) with their male counterparts.
KEVIN: if you put Meryl on a strict diet of auteurs, who would you pair her with for her next 3 films?
We've been busy busy with interviews, awards pieces, Silence of the Lambs anniversary, and more so we're way behind on film news. So let's get caught up with news, awardage, and random recommended links...
• Pajiba Meryl Streep getting herself into trouble with an African comment when asked about diversity
• LongReads Pregnancy in movies with Mad Max Fury Road as starting point
• Inverse The Rock gleefully warning fans he'll get naked on HBO's Ballers
• Funny or Die! Johnny Depp as Donald Trump. Didn't know they did 50 minute skits!
• Cinematic Corner we need to talk about Harrison Ford in Witness
• Library of America Carrie Rickey on The Age of Innocence
• Unseen Films would like you to consider Toni Collette in Glassland
• Coming Soon Gal Gadot's career before Wonder Woman
• Regal Cinemas cute teaser poster for Finding Dory
CASTING & PRODUCTION
• Variety Amy Schumer trying her hand at drama. She's joined the cast of the PTSD movie Thank You For Your Service which stars Miles Teller
• THR Chris Weitz will write the screenplay adaptation of upcoming nonfiction book 21 Years to Midnight which centers on Obergefell v. Hodges, which eventually led to the legalization of same-sex marriage
• AV Club The Bachelors will star JK Simmons as a widower. He and his son (uncast) meet two extraordinary women and their lives are transformed. Julie Delpy will play one of the women. We just hope this isn't yet another movie where women only exist to help the man through their character arc.
• Tracking Board Goldie Hawn might finally act again... in a new Amy Schumer comedy
• The Film Stage has a lot of info on Claire Denis new project High Life so it's spoilery but the film will star Robert Pattison, Patricia Arquette, and Mia Goth from Nymphomaniac
• Variety Mustang tops the Lumiere Awards in France (precursor to the Césars)
• THR I apologize that TFE forgot to cover the Goya awards. So much happens every week with awardage this time of year. The big winner was Truman starring Ricardo Darin (Secret in Their Eyes) and Javier Camera (Talk to Her). Best Actress had some international superstar nominees in Penelope Cruz and Juliette Binoche but they lost to Natalia de Molina (Techo y Comida)
• AARP "Movies for Grown-Ups Awards" red carpet. Spotlight took Best Picture. Ridley Scott best director. Acting winners: Lily Tomlin (Grandma), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Diane Ladd (Joy) and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). And you should know that Diane took the opportunity to speak out against Category Fraud. God bless her! And FYI, Ladd is NOT the Academy member actress I spoke to earlier this year who was angry and vowed to not for anyone pitched in the category. So people are finally if slowly starting to see this for what it is. Now, if only critics and journalists, who have such opinion-making power would stop promoting it in their own awards and write-ups!
Here is Queen Ladd on the topic.
I've already seen snippy things on line about "she wouldn't have been nominated regardless," but, FACT: We do not know this. Listen up: if we didn't have Category Fraudsters each year people would be discussing the options among real supporting actresses (because people always discuss possibilities when it comes to the Oscars) and who knows who might have gained traction without Vikander and Mara sucking up all the conversation?
THEATER & TV
• Playbill Aaron Sorkin writing a new adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird for Broadway
• Gothamist Sikh actor Waris Ahluwalia, from Wes Anderson's movies, was banned from a flight since he wouldn't remove his turban!
• MNPP Great news for Bryan Fuller fans. The Hannibal and Pushing Daisies man will be running the new Star Trek series premiering a year from now.
• Slate reviews Samantha Bees political comedy show Full Frontal. (I was really hoping she's get Jon Stewart's seat when he left The Daily Show.)
• Playbill YES! Sutton Foster will be part of the Gilmore Girls reunion. Can they just have her play her character from Bunheads since they take place in the same Sherman-Palladino world?
• Theater Mania Stephen King's 5 reasons you should see Misery on stage.
Coco here, ready to talk about the current Oscar race and those crazy SAG awards in particular.
As you already know, the Screen Actors Guild decided to honor the best acting of 2015 in the most bizarre way possible; handing the most nominations to blacklist Hollywood drama Trumbo, and nominating a number of performances whose inclusion range from surprising to outright insane.
Don't worry, I'm not here to defend SAG's ridiculous choices. I'm here to do what The Film Experience best at: speculate about Oscar nominations. See, the other day I saw someone on Twitter say he'd be surprised if any of this year's SAG categories are repeated 5-for-5 at the Oscars. This comment got me thinking...
Although the amount of correlation between SAG and Oscar has gone down a bit in the last couple years, the math still says that at least one of Oscar's acting categories will look identical to SAG's. The question I'm here to answer is: which one?
Lots of awards spaculation after the jump.
Tim here with the weekend box office estimates. After an exciting nailbiter last weekend, things got a lot more sedate. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials took the #1 slot without too much effort, continuing the dominance of YA adaptations about attractive 20something teenagers fighting their way through a post-apocalyptic wilderness. Let's not crack open a bottle of champagne for all those Chosen Ones just yet, though; The Scorch Trials came up just short of the first Maze Runner's debut weekend last September, suggesting that if the franchise isn't necessarily on death's door, it seems to have already hit its theoretical peak.
WEEKEND TOP 10, ESTIMATED
01 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $30.3 new
02 Black Mass $23.4 new
03 The Visit $11.4 (cum. $42.3)
04 The Perfect Guy $9.6 (cum. $41.4) Tim's Review
05 Everest $7.6 new
06 War Room $6.3 (cum. $49.1)
07 A Walk in the Woods $2.7 (cum. $24.8) Reviewed at Sundance
08 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation $2.3 (cum. $191.7) Tim's Review
09 Straight Outta Compton $2.0 (cum. $158.9) Podcast
10 Captive $1.4 new
The weekend's other major wide release, Black Mass, opened to a satisfactory number for what it is - a crime drama for adults, which means it's likely to hold on much longer than Scorch Trials - but it's not quite the triumphant return for Johnny Depp that some of us were quietly hoping for. Compared to his last couple of mega-bombs, it's already an unqualified success: by the end of Sunday, it will have already grossed more than three times as much as the notorious Mortdecai from last winter, and its opening weekend is about as much as the entire lifetime domestic gross of Transcendence. Still, aspiring thinkpiece writers can put away their "Depp is a major movie star again!" ledes for right now.
The most impressive performance in the top ten probably belongs to Everest: the star-packed thriller had a smallish platform opening, mostly limited to IMAX and other large format screens, that propelled it up to an impressive $13,872 per-screen average, by far the biggest of any film in the top ten. But even that pales next to the film that I suspect most of the Film Experience faithful want to hear about: Denis Villaneuve's Sicario, starring Emily Blunt, opened to $390,000 on 6 screens. If that doesn't sound like much, try this on for size: the film's $65,000 per-screen average is the highest of any 2015 release so far. Let's keep out fingers crossed that this means great things for the film as it starts to expand over the next two weeks.
How did you spend your moviegoing weekend?
Tim here. This past week marked the tenth anniversary of the festival premieres of two very different stop-motion animated features. We've recently chatted a bit about Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, so other than reminding you that it exists, and it's still delightful a decade on, I will pass it by in silence. Instead, I want turn everybody's attention to Corpse Bride, or if you prefer - the boys in marketing clearly did - Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. The second movie's reputation has gone off in a very different direction over the last ten years: while Were-Rabbit remains a touchstone of sorts thanks to its iconic stars, I'll bet that a good number of you just thought, "Huh, Corpse Bride, I forgot all about that".
That’s not unfair. Revisiting it for the first time in most of that same decade, I found it to be visually inventive, and dangerously rushed as a narrative: based on a Russian folk tale of a young man who accidentally weds a beautiful dead woman, the films never quite shakes the sketchy structure of a fable.