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Entries in politics (110)

Wednesday
Jan212015

We Are the Link

Fistful of Film a wonderful personal take on We Are the Best from a father of girls 
Section Eighty a composer discusses the Oscar-nominated film scores
Coming Soon Milla Jovovich confirms she's about to make another Resident Evil movie, supposedly the final one. She turns 40 this year and started this series when she was but 25.
KCRW Actor Craig Chester believes he's haunted by the ghost of Montgomery Clift 
Out Alexis Arquette taking no prisoners in an interview. But bizarre that she didn't know her own sister was up for an Oscar! 

 

Indie Wire the lineup of New Directors New Films this year The Tribe and White God are both featured. They feel like anything but "new" to me after a whole year of festivalling but I still haven't had the chance to see either - will they ever open theatrically or just keep doing festivals like this one for a second year?
In Contention most anticipated films of Sundance 
We Recycle Movies you should check out Anne Marie's rainbow countdown to the Oscars
The Carpetbagger welcome to Phase 2 of the Oscars. Also: Mark Schultz changes his tune again on Foxcatcher. I am not saying this snarkily but with concern: this is why we need universal health care and easier access less stigma for mental illness treatment. Something is seriously wrong with this guy 

American Sniper Mania
Grantland excellent piece by Mark Harris on why American Sniper's box office won't help its Oscar run ... "success breeds scrutiny"
Rolling Stone on American Sniper's stupidity - they use a similar comparison to Forrest Gump like the one I tweeted icymi
Movie City News David Poland doing some train of thought hand wringing on the extreme combativeness of theAmerican Sniper and Selma Oscar battle... that isn't really a battle but that people have suddenly made it into one 
Playbill ...but perhaps the worst American Sniper news is that its leading Broadway's Elephant Man revival to cancel several performances due to Bradley Cooper's awards schedule 

Off Cinema
Pajiba the one reason to keep watching Girls 
NYT John Cameron Mitchell returns to Hedwig, the role which made him and also, not so incidentally, brought us a brilliant film director. Make another movie, Mitchell! All three of yours are heaven.
i09 looks at lesser known characters in the public domain. Will any of them be revived? 
i09 they also look at the case of James Bond, now public domain in Canada! But not in the US or Europe.
Towleroad's the story of Björk's new album, released two months early. Sad she broke up with Matthew Barney. They seemed like such an iconoclast match

Saturday
Jan102015

Who you gonna call? Linkbusters

Vanity Fair Melissa McCarthy and other funny ladies in talks for Ghostbusters reboot. I'm rooting for Jillian Bell myself who is mentioned. Yay.
Buzzfeed a definitive ranking of Disney Prince butts - as great as it sounds though I'd place Prince Phillip higher because my imagination works (I love that former Prince BD Wong even replied to his ranking on Twitter)
Vulture let us all worship Charlize Theron who has demanded (and been given) equal pay to her male co-star for The Huntsman. It's not like people went to the first movie for Hemsworth...Insane. Sexism by the numbers.
The Film Grapevine Birdman and the unexpected virtue of Contrivance
A Socialite Life Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone photobomb someone actually trying to take a photo of them

Slate on why Wes Anderson movies have never been popular with the Academy Awards before (presumably) now. Fairly good reasoning
MNPP Wet Hot American Summer will become a Netflix series and the original cast is all returning
RogerEbert.com on the women in Selma: the unsung heroines of the movement
THR Samuel Goldwyn Jr dies 
Theater Mania The Color Purple is coming back to Broadway (already?) with Jennifer Hudson as Shug 

Good Long Reads
IndieWire great piece on the definitions of patriotism and exceedingly pro-gun messaging of American Sniper. Please do not let this film be nominated for Best Picture. It's just not what we need right now...especially given how many people have been killed by guns lately in the States...and still no gun reform.
Grantland Wesley Morris on Selma. Love this sprawling, provocative review / thinkpiece. I've been totally appalled and confused myself at the way the media has latched on to the Lyndon B Johnson depiction but Morris makes a great point here that helps clarify, for me, the anger and nitpicking:

A quick survey of film history suggests that the depiction of racial themes in America has always been the province of white directors, whether it’s something as spectacularly diabolical as D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation or the antebellum revenge of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. These great-man movies tend to reflect the aspirations and identities of the people who make them, which is how so many stories ostensibly about black life wind up with white interpolators. DuVernay understands the fraught, imbalanced legacy a film like this pulls her into, and she’s been as fair as she needs to be. This is not a film that undermines or questions Johnson’s ultimate contributions to the improvement of black life in this country. (It very easily could have mentioned the two decades in Congress he spent opposing civil rights legislation.) Inasmuch as there are villains, they are Wallace, Hoover, and Selma’s sheriff, Jim Clark. But because this isn’t Johnson’s story, those accustomed to seeing the president as hero (or protagonist) ultimately seem dismayed by how little of the president there is here.

The bold is mine, not Morris's. People who are angry about Lyndon B Johnson's depiction really ought to look beyond the myth and think about reality. And once they do, rather than be disappointed, they should be as generous as DuVernay is who depicts him as an imperfect man who makes a great progressive decision which changes history.

Saturday
Jan032015

The Heroes of "Pride" Wouldn't Stand For Their DVD Packaging!

I accidentally got two copies of the Pride DVD in the mail for Christmas. I had bought one not knowing that I'd be sent one from the studio. But no matter. Now I have one to gift and just about anyone would love to receive it. I recently talked to my best girlfriend from high school and I can't remember if I've shared this story but it's worth repeating even if I have. 

She and her husband had accidentally gone to see it at a movie theater in Michigan (I didn't interrogate the accidentally part) and liked it so much that they went again the following week and brought another married couple with them. Isn't that great? A decade ago when the theatrical window was longer the movie could have surely found a much larger audience.

About that DVD though...

A scoop from Pink News  today alerted me to the fact that I should pay closer attention to DVD packaging. It seems that Sony Pictures has removed all mention of "gay" or LGBT" from the packaging and official synopsis. If you look at the photo above you'll see that they've even photoshopped out the "Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners" banner in the background of one of the film's two Gay Pride marches.

 

"Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners" or LGSM  is the official name of the collective protagonist organization and exactly what the film is about. They made a huge difference not just for striking miners in the 1980s but for Union nondiscrimination laws thereafter. The synopsis now refers to the group only as "London based activists".

To put all these feisty gays and lesbians back in the closet when the entire movie is about people, gay and straight, who refuse to be bullied into submission by homophobes or Thatcher's horrible dehumanizing rule is every kind of wrong. The LGSM in the movie even questions whether they should work anonymously because of homophobic thinking and their own fear and decide that it wouldn't be right.

What was Sony thinking?!?

In Happier News
To not end on sour note I urge you to visit Nick's Flick Picks for this glorious long read celebrating "collaboration" in 2014. It's a particularly fresh angle for a year in review piece, and yet more wonderful for this film year when so many of the finest movies were about solidarity (Two Days One Night, Pride, Selma, etcetera) or, if they weren't, focused on small duos or trios with gripping connections. If you don't have time to read all pieces of this today visit a few times until you've absorbed them. I particularly enjoyed the write-ups of We Are the Best!, Happy ChristmasLilting, Pride and Reese Witherspoon & Laura Dern for Wild

 

Thursday
Dec182014

The Interview Cancelled. And Other Outrages.

If you slept through the day yesterday what you missed is that Sony pulled the Christmas day release of the comedy The Interview (starring Seth Rogen & James Franco) after major theatrical chains refused to show it after mass murder threats on movie theaters showing it. Naturally the outrage machine revved up with infinite "the terrorists have won" responses (from both liberals and hard righters), snarky tweets, and lots of 'what would happen if' warnings and truly unfortunate comparisons.

Response to the removal of the movie registers strongly for future unearned martyrdom / canonization probability which is more annoying than it is terrifying. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec132014

Missi Meets Nancy - A "Gone Girl" Mirror

Editor's Note: As previously noted, The Film Experience is proud to hand over the blogging reigns to the actress MISSI PYLE from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon. But here's an early bit from the woman herself before she seizes full control!

 

I just interviewed Nancy Grace for The Hollywood Reporter.  It came out yesterday. I was so nervous. What if she thought I was a dick. You know? For lampooning her. But she was totally flattered and really charming. 

This is that interview.

How I got into character for Gone Girl? I googled Nancy Grace. (I don't know how any of us did any research without the internet. Its crazy.) I only really knew her as a caricature. This is the first video I watched to do research. It's Nancy interviewing Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth gently lays into her for bringing up painful things from her past and Nancy dodges it pretty well...

 

And I thought. Yeah. That is her. She is a master and getting you right to that point where you might explode. Thats what I tried to do in the film. That and wear a LOT of leather.

 

More on Gone Girl. Missi returns tomorrow through Monday to talk Oscars, her favorite movie of all time, and life as a working actor. Don't miss it.

Wednesday
Dec102014

How to be SAG Snubbed Even When You're Nominated

As is our annual tradition we like to peruse the credits of the SAG Ensemble nods to see who got left out despite their film's nomination. The Film Experience started this kind of analysis ten years ago when The Aviator had some really dumb exclusions and inclusions but lots of other sites now cover the injustice. We never get credit for starting this line of Norma Rae righteous anger but, that said, at least a lot of people have it now.

Did SAG think her face looked like she'd licked a homelessman's ass?

If you aren't familiar SAG uses a system whereby only actors with solitary title cards are official nominees for the Cast category. This means if you are famous in a bit part and have a good agent you are more likely to be an official nominee than the unknown who delivered a better performance in possibly a much larger role than yours but had to share his or her card. There are occasionally exceptions to this rule; no actors in Woody Allen films get their own title cards, so in those cases SAG uses the first roll call title card but not the second and we see this solution with Birdman this year which does not give its cast separate billings.

What this means is that sometimes the person giving the single best performance in a film, like Corey Stoll in Midnight in Paris a few years back gets the snub because they weren't famous enough even though they undoubtedly contributed to the nomination happening in the first place. Stoll is now famous enough to get his own title card which he can thank Midnight in Paris and all the things it led to (like House of Cards) for but at the time, despite inarguably contributing to the nomination appeal, he was left out. 

It's really an unfortunate system that a union like SAG should consider revamping: it essentially awards the rich and powerful and demeans the little guy which is kind of a union no-no, you know? So let's look at who's nominated (officially) and who's not from the nominated casts. Though, as I've often been reminded by those defending SAG, it is worth noting that the non-nominate nominees (errrr) still get some kind of 'congrats' citation from SAG and something to put on their resume and nobody really balks when they fudge the officialness and declare themselves a best cast nominee!

BEST CAST NOMINATIONS
(Listed in order of billing. This year proves to be far less egregious than past years in terms of thoughtless shunnings. But it's a tradition at The Film Experience so we'll soldier on through it)

BIRDMAN
Michael Keaton, Zach Galifanakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts [They all share an end-credit title card - like how woody allen films do it, with only Keaton interrupting the alphabetization] 

Who got the boot:  Lindsay Duncan, Merrit Wever, and Jeremy Shamos share the second actor credits page. The Emmy winning Wever, of Nurse Jackie fame, is blink and you'll miss her as the stage manager so it's no great loss in terms of a citation but surely Lindsay Duncan, who is rather key to the narrative as the much-discussed fearsome critic "Tabitha," should have been the exception to the rule and among the nominees. I believe Shamos plays the "terrible" actor that Mike Shiner (Norton) replaces in the play within the movie. Bill Camp (the crazy homeless man!) and Damion Young are the only other actors with a shared credit card.

BOYHOOD
Patricia Arquette, Eller Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, "and" Ethan Hawke [title cards end credits] 

Only "grandma" is left out of Boyhood's blood relative nominees

Who got the boot: Though this seems somewhat fair given the 12 years that the immediate fictional family put into the project, there are a few other players who stuck around a year or three or four with highlighted roles. So you could complain (though I'm never in the mood for complaining when it comes to this gift of a movie) about the lack of Libby Vallari (Grandma) especially. There's also Barbara Chisolm as the mom's protective generous friend (Carol) or either of mom's drunk later husbands Marco Perella (as Professor Welbrock) or Brad Hawkins (as Jim)

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Ralph Fiennes, F Murray Abraham, Mathieu Almaric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzmann, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Willinson, Owen Wilkinson, and  "Introducing" Tony Revolori

Grand Budapest has an insanely large cast so it makes sense that not everyone can be included. Sorry, prison gang!

Who got the boot: With the largest cast nominated, 17 players, all the important players as well as a few famous cameos are accounted for. So no complaints. Of those not "officially" included my votes for most memorable would go to Giselda Volodi as Serge's doomed club-footed sister and Florian Lukas as "Pinky" in the jail. Others might miss the cameos by the "The Society of the Crossed Keys" Wes Anderson regulars Bob Balaban, Wally Wolodarski and Waris Ahluwalia share that title card. 

THE IMITATION GAME
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, "with" Charles Dance, "and" Mark Strong [title cards after prologue]

Who got the boot: Among the government corralled code-breaking teams James Northcote (who was also in Nymphomaniac and Belle this year) as "Jack Good" is left out, as are the young actors Alex Lawther and Jack Bannon who play Alan Turing and his mate Christopher in their boys school youth. And I might be a teeny tiny bit annoyed to see Tuppence Middleton left out since I loved her scene(s?) as "Helen" - and because she gifted Turing and Team with their scripted 'Eureka!' moment with all her flirtatious you know? But overall the nomination here is inclusive enough.

THEORY OF EVERYTHING 
Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, "and" David Thewlis.  [title cards end credits]

Harry Lloyd was Best Friend to Hawking, but doesn't get to enjoy the awards spoils

Who got the boot: The only principal cast members who got title cards but were left our are Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd who had to share a card. This is a shame. Both Lloyd and Peake have major roles as Hawking's speech therapist of sorts and his best friend respectively so this is disappointing. Those are certainly much bigger parts and more impressive performances than, say, Emily Watson whose role Nick famously and hilariously summarized in our podcast as

You haven't met me. You should go to church. Bye!" 

 

What did you think of the SAG Cast Nominations, readers? Which films were you upset to see left out and which film are you rooting for for the win? 

Tuesday
Dec092014

Team FYC: Obvious Child for Best Picture

Editor's Note: We're nearing the end of our individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar / Globe / SAG race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be a voter, take note! Here's Matthew Eng on "Obvious Child". (Do you think it can swing a Globe nod?)

In the category of “Movies That I’m Thrilled Even Exist,” Obvious Child would easily take the cake this year, without question. Writer-director Gillian Robespierre, in the first of a hopefully long line of complex, female-focused comedies, has crafted a film that takes such confident and unfussily righteous pride in its pro-abortion stance, all the more crucial considering the efforts still being made to demonize and outlaw the act.

Working with co-writers Karen Maine and Elisabeth Holm, and in tandem with the warm, witty, and wondrously empathetic efforts of redoubtable leading lady Jenny Slate, Robespierre has produced a near-rarity: a romcom heroine we can believe in. [More...]

Click to read more ...