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Entries in politics (125)

Thursday
Aug272015

Viola 'on the move'

How did I miss this incredible news in the New York Times?!? Viola Davis, on the Emmy campaign trail for her Shondaland series How to Get Away With Murder, talked about all her future projects. It's good news times three.

Q. In addition to “Suicide Squad,” what else are you working on?

A. They are making “Fences,” August Wilson’s play, into a feature that Denzel Washington is directing and I’m going to be in. My husband and I started a production company, and we are doing Harriet Tubman’s story for HBO that Kirk Ellis is writing. And Tony Kushner is writing a project that we got greenlit at Fox Searchlight about the great congresswoman out of Texas, Barbara Jordan. I’m always moving.

She also explains the reasoning behind her recent populist / less prestigious genre choices...

Q. So starting your company let you be in control?

A. Yes, but it’s a lot of work to be the boss. You’ve got to have two trains going at the same time. You have to stay relevant, hence “How to Get Away With Murder,” hence “Suicide Squad. “You have to stay relevant, because if you are not, no one will take a chance with you on even a $2 million budget. But then at the same time you have to take risks in terms of material that moves you.

Good luck to her as ever. We've been in her corner since 2002 (the "who is that" triple whammy of Far From Heaven, Antwone Fisher, Solaris) and we don't plan to go anywhere!

I don't want to say that we willed movement onto the Fences adaptation but IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME. And though her Barbara Jordan project has been talked up for three or four years now, there's been no real movement on it until now. Thank you Fox Searchlight! Now let's get all of this fast-tracked right now since Viola Davis just turned 50 and you know how Hollywood likes to turn on women when they do. There's no time to waste!

Pointless But Fun What If Trivia: If Viola wins the Emmy for HTGAWM next month and the Oscar for Fences when that movie is released (astoundingly big "ifs" but go with it) than she'll just be a Grammy short of an EGOT since she already has two Tony Awards (for lead and featured). It's worth noting that if she wins all four competitively she'll be the very first African-American to accomplish it and only the second woman of color after Puerto Rico's Rita Moreno. Now, technically, three black icons (Whoopi Goldberg, Harry Belafonte, and James Earl Jones) have all four but those statistics come with the heavy asterisks that also plague Liza & Babs in that at least one of the prizes was given non-competitively or in a "lesser" form. I mean, sorry Whoopi, but you shouldn't count daytime Emmies anymore than you'd count regional Emmys (they give those things out like candy!) towards the showbiz quadruple. (Yours truly personally prefers the Triple Crown -- easier to follow and the Grammys aren't actor-focused like the other three so there's less beautiful symmetry! -- but Tina Fey's 30 Rock destroyed popular culture's interest in that statistic by popularizing the notion of the EGOT.)

Wednesday
Aug192015

Lukewarm Off Presses: James Dean, Christopher Guest, Bryan Cranston

Three stories we're late mentioning but so what? Always eager to hear your thoughts...

Trumbo
Still no trailer but there's now a poster for Trumbo, the Hollywood blacklist drama starring Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren (as gossip icon Hedda Hopper). Cranston could be looking at the Triple Crown if he's Best Actor nominated since he already has the Tony and the Emmy. Will Oscar go wild for this? A word of caution for those predicting at home: People were going on and on about how much Hollywood loves movies about itself when Birdman won the Oscar last season but it's not entirely true. They sometimes nominate movies about movies but they don't tend to be the big winners. And Hollywood blacklist dramas are an infrequent subcategory unto themselves: Career (1959) won a few tech nominations but nothing in the top categories;  The Way We Were (1973) only won for music and didn't even make the Best Picture lineup which it absolutely deserved to be in; Guilty by Suspicion (1991) with Robert De Niro and The Bening and The Majestic (2001) starring Jim Carrey were both entirely ignored;  Good Night and Good Luck (2005) was popular with voters for nominations but lost each of its categories. 

Mascots
It's been nine freaking years since Christopher Guest's last mockumentary For Your Consideration (2006) which was, unfortunately his weakest comedy. But he's finally making something new! The movie will be for Netflix and it's about what it sounds like it's about. No cast announced yet but I think we can safely guess at least a handful of players. I NEED to see Parker Posey and Catherine O'Hara in big furry costumes, okay? I need it like I need oxygen. 

<-- The "Life" of James Dean
Bring Your Own "Yes No Maybe So" in the comments. James Dean has had biopics before but this one comes from Anton Corbijn who I think we should allow made a very fine music biopic on Ian Curtis of Joy Division called Control (2007). This ground, however, is amply covered previously -- except for its macro focus on a photoshoot the moment before Dean was famous. The film, which looks depressingly actress free from the trailer, stars Robert Pattinson, Ben Kingsley, the ubiquitous Joel Edgerton and Dane DeHaan as James Dean.

Ready? Go...

Tuesday
Aug042015

Yes No Maybe So: Stonewall 

The director Roland Emmerich left his preferred world of dumb fun cheesy explosions behind briefly a few years back for the crass Shakespeare conspiracy theories of Anonymous. But at least it was something different for him and we applaud stretching.

He ventures out of action movie land again for Stonewall which is about an explosion of a very different kind. Here's the poster and our Yes No Maybe So on the trailer is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Aug022015

Podcast Smackdown (Pt 2) Nixon & Georgia & 1995 Takeaways

You've read the Smackdown proper and heard Part One of the companion podcast. Now we're wrapping things up with Part Two in which Nathaniel and guests discuss a movie they all loved (Georgia) and the most divisive movie of the batch (Nixon). Big thanks again to this month's panelists: Nick Davis (Nicks Flick Picks), Guy Lodge (Variety), Kevin O'Keeffe (Arts.Mic), Conrado Falco (Coco Hits NY) and Lynn Lee (The Film Experience)

Part 2: 39 Minutes
00:01 Mare Winningham and Georgia’s Screenplay
08:45 Oliver Stone’s excesses -- extremely split opinions on Nixon
19:15 Off-Oscar: Other performances we loved from 1995 and another round of Emma Thompson and Sense & Sensibility
30:00 Best Original Song ???
33:40 Final Thoughts, recommendations and takeaways

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes tomorrow.

Smackdown. Pt 2

Saturday
Aug012015

Annette Bening, the Romantic Comedienne

Andrew here. I could not let the celebration of 1995, which ends with tomorrow's Smackdown, pass without singling out one of the most important performances of the year from my favourite actress.

The American President represents a key moment in my Bening love affair because this – her tenth film after seven years in the business – represents my first meeting with her, and it was obsession at first sight. But enough about me. This mostly forgotten gem allows Annette to perform in a cadence that she's been rarely allowed to show her abilities - Annette Bening, at 37 years old, the best romantic comedy heroine of the 90s...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul242015

The Look of Silence

Amir returns to his favorite 2014 festival film, newly arrived in theaters...

Midway through The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to the 2013 Best Documentary Nominee The Act of Killing, there is a seemingly innocuous moment that sends chills down the spine. The film’s protagonist, Adi, and a male companion are trudging through the forest as they discuss their assassinated family members. Slowly reciting the “Ashhad,” Muslim prayer for the departed, they arrive at a river that runs through the trees. The camera stops as they exit the frame. The forest’s natural humming and buzzing, and the slow movement of the water in dusk’s light lend the moment a haunting eeriness. The weight of their wounds lingers above the water; the emptiness of the space is terrifying.

This sequence is not unique to the structure of the film, a documentary whose emotional impact and, frequently, its thematic development, hinges on small, quiet moments; a shot of a motorcycle riding away toward the forests, a woman sitting still at the doorway of her house, a long gaze that captures the gravity of decades of history.  Every miniscule gesture is effective, and the cumulative impact of these small wonders adds up to a film that is, without hyperbole, one of the best documentaries ever made.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul182015

Misc: Silly Villains, Prequel Genies, Naughty Droids, Creepy Dolls

AV Club Parker Posey cast in Woody Allen's next film. Here's hoping she can graduate to lead muse
Variety Miramax and its 700 film library (all of which were Oscar nominated in the 1990s*) are for sale. Potential buyers balking at the $1 billion price tag.
Guardian Emma Stone on being "the butt of jokes" and learning about whitewashing in Hollywood through that Aloha fiasco of hers

 

Empire Aladdin added to Disney's growing 'let's make live-action movies based on our animated library' list
Joanna Robinson ...offered my favorite response to this 
Variety Julianne Moore leaves Nicole Holofcener's Can You Ever Forgive Me? - replacement seeking commence (10 bucks on Catherine Keener cuz that's how Holofcener do)
Coming Soon David Gordon Green will direct a Boston Marathon bombing related film with the extremely generic title of Stronger
Harpy annoys me with this article asking us to excuse bad character design in X-Men movies if the movie turns out OK. Let's not lower our standards shall we? 
The Wrap Star Wars unhappy with Amy Schumer's risqué GQ photoshoot 
Screencrush realizes that every Marvel villain is essentially the same guy 
Salon has Hollywood reached a tipping point with sexism? More and more A listers speaking out

Long Read
This piece from The Telegraph won a lot of online attention. It looks back at the then unique Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) and how the filmmakers (Kerry Conran and Kevin Conran) were immediately forgotten by Hollywood despite their process becoming enormously influential.

...and ICYMI Tim's Toons also revisited this Visual FX landmark last year for its 10th anniversary

Off Screen
The Cut "what open marriage taught one man about feminism" - I would argue that this is not about feminism at all BUT it is about one couple's complicated relationship and it's interesting to hear intimate things about people's private lives that you're not usually privvy to. What's even more fascinating (if depressing / expected) is how defensive and hateful the comments are. People just can't handle anything that challenges the norm without excessive judgement - it terrifies them, they lash out. We've seen this over and over with every social battle... and also with every argument about what "marriage" means. Marriage has such a fraught complicated evolving history in legal, political, sexual, religious terms that it's hilarious that conservatives are always claiming that it's this great unchanging sacred monolith since the days of Adam & Eve. 
Smithsonian has a history of creepy dolls
The Verge 'the trolls are winning the internet' - you don't know how often I'm grateful to most of you in our comparatively pleasant comments here at TFE
Pajiba asks that you stop writing, reading, publishing thinkpieces if the people writing them have not seen the thing they are writing about (it's an epidemic, really in this clickbait era) 

*I'm kidding but it feels true.