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Entries in Los Angeles (40)

Sunday
Mar062016

Podcast Season Finale: 88th Oscars

NathanielNick, Joe and Katey close this season of the podcast with their final "it's all sunk in now" feelings

42 minutes 
00:01 "So Spotlight won..."
02:15 Katey's Party / Nick's House Rules 
05:25 Stallone's Loss / Compton Moviegoing
09:30 How much changes if Idris Elba had been nominated?
15:00 Sam Smith, The Gays, and Original Song
20:00 What wins will age well and much randomness
37:54 That moment when we thought George Miller was possible...
40:00 Girl Scout Cookies and Goodbyes

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Related Reading: Index of Oscar Ceremony Coverage

Oscar Wrap Up

Thursday
Feb182016

50 Years Ago Right Now ~ An Evening With Carol Channing !

Imagine your parents or maybe your grandparents gathered 'round a 21 inch television on February 18th, 1966 on ABC to watch this.  If you were born in October 1966 I apologize that the weirdest things got your parents frisky.

Wowee Wow. Here's Our Dolly now! 🎵 

There were only three channels in 1966 and, I mean, why would ANYONE have been watching anything else? She was on Broadway at the time with Hello Dolly. Broadway had such a cache back then. Can you imagine a Broadway star getting a whole hour of television to promote their celebrity today?

Some highlights...
04:10 Wanna hear where Lady Bunny got her voice. It's right here. 
12:22 David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) reads T.E. Lawrence and speaks multiple languages with Carol, cracking each other up
24:20 Mona Lisa musical comedy sketch. The takeaway: the 1960s were a very strange and alien time from an alternate Earth. Possibly another Galaxy altogether
33:00 Los Angeles, skewered. Must see if you've ever hated on L.A.
50:30 George Burns & David McCallum join Carol for the finale. "The Monkey Rag"
 
 

Monday
Feb082016

TV at the Movies: Agent Carter goes Hollywood, and Hedy Lamarr gets her due.

Since several members of Team Experience are high on Agent Carter, here's Lynn Lee to talk about its new Tinseltown resonance.

Are you enjoying Marvel’s “Agent Carter”?  If you're not watching, you should. The show’s really upped its game in its second season, in part because its main characters have found their groove, but in even larger part because of its change of setting.  

Dispatched to Los Angeles to assist the West Coast office of the Strategic Science Reserve, Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) quickly finds herself in the heart of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  Her old friend Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) is doing his best impression of another famed Howard of the period, dabbling in filmmaking but really most interested in collecting starlets as poolside decorations and “production assistants.”  Meanwhile, Peggy and Jarvis (James d’Arcy) do their own best impression of Nick and Nora Charles (although they also prefigure original Avengers John Steed and Emma Peel), trading exquisitely polite British quips as they navigate palm trees and movie sets, and they’re a delight to watch. 

But it’s not just Howard Stark who draws Peggy into Tinseltown’s orbit. More...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec062015

LAFCA Winners (Plus: NYFCO Madness)

 With today's announcement of the Los Angeles Film Critics Associations winner the die is set for critics awards. People can argue until pigs fly about whether and how and to what extend critics awards affect Oscar voters but here is a fairly universal consensus among people in the know: these things only matter to the extent they convince voters to attend that particular screening or put that specific screener on top of their to-watch stack. And the two critics groups that voters hear most about and are thus most likely to be influenced by are the two most prestigious coastal giants, LAFCA and NYFCC (who already announced with Carol winning big).

Will Oscar voters take MAD MAX: FURY ROAD seriously or just think "action film"

LAFCA 2015 Winners
Film Spotlight (ru: Mad Max: Fury Road)
Director
George Miller, Mad Max Fury Road (ru: Todd Haynes, Carol)
Actress
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years (ru: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn)
Actor
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (ru: Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul)
Supporting Actress
- Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina (ru: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria)
Supporting Actor
- Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (ru: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies) 

More and a very cool bit of trivia after the jump via Joe Reid...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov122015

AFI Awards: Mustang, James White, and More...

Deniz & AliceThe Los Angeles AFI Festival, presented by Audi, ends tonight with the premiere of Paramount's The Big Short with it's all star (male) cast. But two women we're instant new fans of were the winners. First time feature director Deniz Gamze Ergüven and second time feature director Alice Winocour both had films in the fest (Mustang, which they cowrote and Ergüven directed, and Disorder, which was titled Maryland when it first debuted at Cannes, which Winocour wrote and directed.) Mustang opens in NY & LA a week from tomorrow. Disorder is due in March next year. They're both very much worth seeing so keep an eye on these two very talented women. I know we will. 

NEW AUTEURS AWARDS

Jury:  Inkoo Kang (TheWrap), Sheri Linden (The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times) and Nigel M. Smith (The Guardian).

New Auteurs Grand Jury Award: Land and Shade (César Augusto Acevedo)
The jury cited it's  "visual eloquence, formal rigor and emotional power" in painting a portrait of a rural family in Colombia and its observations about the explotation of the poor and environmental degradation

more prizes follow...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul162015

Women's Pictures - Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days

On April 29th, 1992, the Rodney King verdict set Los Angeles on fire. Over 6 days, crowds rioted in South Central LA, protesting the acquittal of four LAPD officers who had been videotaped beating a black man. This was not LA's first race riot, but it came at a fraught time for the city, when the skyscrapers that were supposed to signal the start of a new era of prosperity loomed over widening economic and social gaps. By May 4th, it was clear that though the riots had "officially" ended, they had left a scar on the psyche of the city. Over the next few years, that scar would surface in one of Los Angeles's most prominent exports: film. After the Rodney King riots ended, a series of scifi blockbusters - including Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days - took to the streets of LA to predict the worst for the city's future.

Strange Days (another collaboration between Kathryn Bigelow and ex-husband James Cameron) is part of a group of dystopian action thrillers that cropped up in the wake of the Rodney King Riots. Escape from LADemolition Man, and Strange Days used their futuristic settings to do what science fiction does best: they created an allegory for contemporary fears about violence, inequity, and police brutality. 

Los Angeles is a good setting for a dystopia. Unlike New York City, America's Melting Pot, where people from different socioeconomic backgrounds intermingle on the street, Los Angeles is more a series of villages connected by highways. In LA, communities whose names are synonymous with wealth and prestige set their gates a handful of miles from infamously poor neighborhoods. But the two worlds never meet.

According to the movies, only three groups travel between these separate-but-unequal islands: cops, criminals, and entertainers. Lenny Nero, the protagonist of Strange Days, is all three: an ex-cop turned con-man who sells recorded memories and emotions via a "SQUID" machine - data discs that play directly in your cerebral cortex. When an anonymous donor leaves Nero a clip of his friend's rape and murder on New Year's Eve 1999, Nero and his friend Mace (Angela Bassett) get pulled into a plot that involves murdered rappers, police coverups, music producers, and Nero's lost love (Juliette Lewis). But bubbling under this detective story is a growing sense of unrest between police and the populace.

James Cameron's screenplay sets up a lot of ideas - drug allegory, the nature of memory, police militarization, the right to riot, institutional racism - and it is Kathryn Bigelow's very heavy duty to sort through these themes while also keeping the film on track. Miraculously, she is mostly successful. Though the structure of the script sometimes lags under the weight of its own ideas, Bigelow keeps the film moving at a clipped pace. Her fascination with point of view also becomes literal in Strange Days. the SQUID machines record from first person POV, which Bigelow uses to occasionally comic, often thrilling, and (in one incredibly intense murder scene) chilling effect. By virtue of its technical difficulties, First Person POV can look gimmicky on film, but Bigelow overcomes the difficulties to instead stage a series of fantastic action pieces.

The only failure of the film is not in its setup or its action, but in its conclusion. The complex problems of racism and violence which had occasionally bubbled to the surface - mostly in a B plot surrounding Angela Bassett's character - are neatly solved at the end of the film, though this denoument does give one intense image: a SWAT team beating an unarmed woman. It's probably too much to ask for moral complexity from an action thriller. Though insipred by riots that had proved there were still no easy answers in reality, Strange Days is still a product of its genre; commodified violence for the sake of box office. 

This month on Women's Pictures...

7/23 - K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) - Hands down the most requested film after Point Break, this film follows Harrison Ford racing to prevent a nuclear holocaust via submarine. (Amazon Prime) (Netflix)

7/30 - The Hurt Locker (2008) - The film that put Bigelow's name down in history as the first female director to win the Academy Award is a thriller about a bomb squad in the Iraq War. (Amazon Prime)