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Entries in ScarJo (65)

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"

Thursday
Apr302015

A.I. "Her," or The Rise of the Empathetic Machines

Wrapping up the sci-fi week festivities (did you see the final top ten list?) we turn the time over to our fine new contributor Lynn Lee. You'll want to read this one! - Editor


Deep down, most people who think about artificial intelligence have the same fear: that it will not only surpass humanity but supplant us, ending our reign as the planet’s dominant species and extracting cosmic revenge for our own abuses.  Building on these anxieties, movies about A.I. have embraced a pretty consistently grim outlook for humanity in the face of this phenomenon (which even has a fancy, if oddly spiritual-sounding name: the singularity).  The slaves become the masters, seeking either to exterminate or enslave us. 

But if A.I. overtakes human intelligence, and the machines evolve into a superior being, wouldn’t that include superior emotional intelligence?  And wouldn’t a super (emotionally) intelligent being have developed extraordinary powers of empathy?  Rather than using those powers to manipulate us, couldn’t they serve as a bridge between us and them?  Or would they, in outstripping our own poor abilities, become a further source of divergence?

Films that pursue this line of inquiry typically balance the A.I.s’ desire to understand and learn human emotions against their basic survival programming.  Blade Runner’s most transcendent moment involves a replicant (“more human than human”) reaching out to save a man (who may actually be a replicant himself) he was ready to kill just a minute earlier.  A.I: Artificial Intelligence, brandishing the tag line “His love is real.  But he is not,” teases out the conceit of such artificial beings, initially programmed to be and feel just like humans, evolving into a super-species who must deconstruct the emotional memories of one of their earliest prototypes in order to understand their own connection to us.  

More recently, the quietly disquieting Ex Machina introduces an A.I. who turns the Turing test on its head and leaves unanswered whether a machine that can so expertly read and simulate our more vulnerable emotions will ever come to feel them for “real.”

I can’t think of another movie, however, that explores these questions quite like Spike Jonze’s Her...

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Thursday
Mar052015

The Avengers (Again). Three Grabby Shots

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is nearing Spider-Man 3 levels of giving the game away before it opens. Which worries. Why the hard sell with a third trailer when you're going to break records even if you advertised with only the illustration of a turd -- and I don't mean the shitty poster, but an actual turd. This hard sell combined with the bleak tone of all the trailers (where's the fun of the megahit original?) combined with Joss Whedon calling the production "a nightmare" has me suddenly worried. Because, true story: I want it to be great. I love The Avengers (in comic and movie form). Yes, TFE complains about the glut of superhero movies but that doesn't mean they should've have a place in the movie ecosystem. They just shouldn't dominate it is all. They're dessert, not a balanced meal.

So at the risk of obvious spoilers (hey Marvel provided them not us) here are the three moments we must discuss...

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Tuesday
Dec232014

Scarlett Johansson, 2014's MVP

Year in Review. Two yummy look backs each day

Tim here. Among its many charms and disappointments, 2014 was an extraordinarily good year to be a fan of Scarlett Johansson.

No, I can go bigger than that: 2014 was a year that could make somebody a fan of Scarlett Johansson in the first place, or in my case, knock the dust off a fandom that had been growing stale over the last several years.

What makes it such a particularly interesting year to have watched the actress is the way that three of her four performances released in the United States in ’14 are variations on each other (the outlier is what amounts to cameo in Chef, more of a favor done for director Jon Favreau than a real part). Let’s take a quick look at each of them:

Under the Skin
In a holdover from the 2013 festival season Johansson played a non-human being in the human form of a gorgeous woman under the guiding hand of director Jonathan Glazer. Icy good looks married to a deliberately unknowable inner life pretty neatly describes the opinion that tends to be held on Johansson’s acting skills by people who don’t like her, which makes this, on the one hand, an easy casting decision. [More...]

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Wednesday
Dec032014

Red Carpet Lineup: Gotham's Revenge of the Nineties

NATHANIEL: Hello dear readers. I'm pleased to announce the return of the Red Carpet Lineup series for awards season kicking off with The Gotham Awards. It's the fashion series for people who don't care who people are wearing so much as who be doing the wearing. This season I'm happy to say that two ladies who could walk the red carpet themselves are joining me: TFE's Los Angeles Branch divas Anne Marie & Margaret.

I'm calling this post "Revenge of the Nineties" because look at all these Nineties A-Listers? or at least B+ Listers (hi Heather Graham!) lighting up the room again.

UMA, ROLLERGIRL, RENE, FAMKE, and KEENER

MARGARET: I love the variety. Whatever else you can say about these outfits, they all should have felt pretty confident they weren't going to see anyone else showing up in the same thing.

NATHANIEL: I have a 100% certainty about which of these outfits Anne Marie would wear (The Russo - ding ding ding) but Margaret? If you were a 90s superstar trying to get your groove back what would we see you in?

ANNE MARIE:  I'm actually wearing Rene Russo's jacket right now. How awkward...

NATHANIEL: ...But Margaret? If you were a 90s superstar trying to get your groove back what would we see you in?

MARGARET: I think I'd go with Ms. Janssen's ensemble. All of these outfits are A Lot of Look, but that kicky little mini-dress looks easiest to pull off without mega-star-wattage, plus it provides a welcome dash of color in a neutral-heavy lineup.

NATHANIEL: Awww, "kicky" is my favorite underused adjective and Famke is one of my favorite underused stars

ANNE MARIE: Speaking of A Lot Of Look, what exactly is going on with Catherine Keener? Is that a dress? A coat? I like it in concept, but in execution it looks like a boxy reject from AHS: Coven

Broken toes, Alien haircuts, and secrets to luscious movie star hair after the jump... 

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Monday
Dec012014

Gotham Awards 2014. The Winners...

Will it be Birdman, Boyhood, Love is Strange, Grand Budapest Hotel, or Under the Skin tonight? Read on for the winners and commentary.   

8:01 Uma Thurman the awards host is even more mannered than Uma Thurman the actress. Who knew? (I love Uma so I can say that. If you're no Umaphile you'd best shut it! 

8:14 IFP is bragging about IFP. Which is okay. This is the raison d'etre of Awards Bodies essentially.

8:18 First Uma, now Heather Graham? It's getting very 90s up in herrre.

8:20 I've been pronouncing "Riz" wrong in "Riz Ahmed" as it turns out. Breakthrough Actor goes to Tessa Thompson in Dear White People. P.S. She's also really good in Selma. I love that they announce the juries. This prize was given by Shane Carruth, Michael B Jordan, Ron Simons and two actresses we love up in herre Famke Janssen & Brie Larson

8:25 Ana Lily Amirpour wins Breakthrough Director for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The other much-raved debut horror film from a woman this year (The Babadook wasn't nominated). Her acceptance speech is awesome. 

Tilda Swinton here and I'm like... GODDESS! Maybe if I can meet her and take a photo with her...

8:30 Meryl Streep is here to talk up Foxcatcher and give it a special prize for ensemble. She seems to really love it. Calls Channing Tatum a...

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