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Entries in MPAA (20)

Sunday
Aug282016

Box Office Special: 1984 Hits

Rather than talk about this weekend's boring box office results (nothing new to see here beyond a big weekend for that new kill-the-trespassing-teenagers flick Don't Breathe) let's travel back to 1984 which was a hugely influential year for franchises of many kinds. What can the biggest hits tell us about the then and the now? 

TOP TWENTY OF 1984
numbers adjusted for today's dollars via box office mojo

01 Ghostbusters $589.6  
Two Oscar nods. Spawned 1 terrible sequel, two animated TV shows, and this year's reboot

02 Beverly Hills Cop $581.5
Led to two sequels, a TV remake, and a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been in some stage of development for 20+ years and is still supposedly being made. We'll believe it when we see it.

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Tuesday
Feb162016

On Deadpool's Overhyped Sexuality

Social justice warriors argue that "Straight White Male" ought not to be a default setting and they're right - it's a wide & diverse world. Arguably nowhere is this default more set in stone than in superhero movies.

I actually rushed out to see Deadpool this weekend because it promised to be something different in this regard. This, despite no real desire to see the movie since the hard obnoxious sell felt like flop sweat (though it sure as hell worked and no flopping occurred). I didn't end up reviewing the film but this piece I wrote for Towleroad is as close as I got. It's called "Pansexual Antihero or Gaybaiting Joke?" because the buzz surrounding the smart ass mutant's sexual desires is empty.

Here's an excerpt but I hope you'll read the whole thing...

Deadpool fits comfortably in the X-verse, being a mutant, but also by selling the troubled 'otherness' that is the X-Men's chief inclusive draw for moody adolescents and beyond. He's neither hero nor villain, but an amoral guy who discovers he has cancer. His superpowers are unlocked through a sadistic experiment to rid himself of the cancer which leaves him badly disfigured but incapable of being killed. This anti-hero has been described as "omnisexual" by the writer of his comic and the media has consistently referred to him at "pansexual". But is he either of those things, or just a typical straight guy who loves a good dick joke?

extra random thoughts about the movie after the jump...

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Saturday
Dec052015

Robert Loggia (1930-2015) ...and 80s Oscar Movies.

Tough guy Italian American actor Robert Loggia, arguably best known for supporting roles in gangster classics, has passed away at age 85. He had been suffering from Alzheimers. Condolences to his family and his fans.

The enduring character actor's career began on the Broadway stage in the 1950s but he quickly began mixing it up on television where he starred in a few short lived TV shows and made numerous guest appearances over the past five decades (!). His first big screen role (uncredited) was as "Frankie Peppo" in the Paul Newman classic Somebody Up There Likes Me but his film career didn't hit its peak until the 1980s with a string of hits including An Officer and a Gentleman, Scarface, Prizzi's Honor, and the comedy Big with Tom Hanks.

Though the earliest Oscar ceremony memory I have is Shirley Maclaine winning (1983), the first Oscar race I actively followed was in 1985, the year Robert Loggia was nominated for the courtroom thriller Jagged Edge. Now in the paleozoic pre-internet era "actively following" the race was much different. It required 1) going to movies that adults thought were great and 2) reading a few articles in weekly and monthly magazines about who might be nominated. That's it! [More...]

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Wednesday
May062015

10th Anniversary of 'Mysterious Skin' and Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Actor

Glenn here. Look, we all know Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a child actor, and a pretty good one, too (that scene where he got skate in the face in Halloween: H20 is very memorable). But let's not kid around here. It wasn't until the release of Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin in 2005 that most really started to take him seriously. One year later he starred in Brick and he's only continued to rise up the ranks as a popular and critically respected actor. Looking back, I can't recall if his presence was as exciting to me in this film as Michelle Trachtenburg from Buffy, but looking back now he's certainly one of the reasons the film holds up.

It's actually rather appropriate that the 10th anniversary of Mysterious Skin should occur now at around the same time as New York Magazine's article entitled “Why You Should Go to the Movies (and Do Other Stuff) Alone” has been getting shared around on social media. You see, Araki's film was the first film I ever went to see at the cinema by myself. I travelled to Melbourne all on my lonesome, without friends or family who I usually convinced to join me for a day at the arthouse, and caught a screening of the movie that had amassed so much controversy in the local media. There were threats of it being banned after a 'family organization' (code for fundamentalist "won't somebody think of the children" noddies) demanded a review of its already very restrictive R18+ rating which is the Australian equivalent of an NC-17. Given the history of sexually graphic films being banned after similar action - titles like Romance and Baise-Moi - I knew I had to see this film. And fast!

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"

Sunday
Jan252015

Good Morning! "Teen Girl" & Sales Notes from Sundance

Sundance is keeping me mighty occupied though I promise that more reviews are coming. Yesterday I caught Glassland (reviewed), and two gay films, one of which I loved (Tangerine - not to be confused with the Estonian picture nominated for an Oscar right now) and the other that I'm trying to parse my feelings for still (I Am Michael) but both reviews are in the queue.

 

Inbetween every movie I keep hearing people enthusing about The End of the Tour starring Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel (the latter winning dream reviews). If it wasn't that it was people bitching about being shut out of additional screenings added to keep up with demand for The Witch. The two of those seem to be the fest's buzziest title (thus far) so of course I didn't schedule either! It's always a crapshoot when you work out a schedule... or don't work one out early enough which tends to be my problem. There was no warning on the success of The Witch at all as it's a period piece (set before the Salem witch trials) from a first time director without any stars in the cast. Fresh voices as festival breakouts? Yes please. Sundance always hopes to be about that, actually, but quite often the buzziest titles are less unfamiliar.

My final film yesterday was one of Sundance's other hot titles, The Diary of a Teenage Girl. The film stars a very young looking 22 year old British actress named Bel Powley as a precocious 15 year old who is experimenting with and embracing her burgeoning sexuality in 1970s San Francisco. The film opens with a line that goes something like 'Today I had sex for the first time. Holy shit!' Her bohemian mother (Kristen Wiig, excellent again) is rather oblivious to her daughter's horniness and doesn't realize that her own boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) is sleeping with Minnie. Writer/director Marielle Heller (as well as, presumably, the novelist Phoebe Gloekner who provided the source material) daringly shows Minnie initiating the sex in Lolita-esque fashion....

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