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Entries in Sir Ian McKellen (19)

Monday
Jun292015

Somewhere That's Link

Defamer Elizabeth Berkley finally coming to terms with the love out there for Showgirls -- like Faye Dunaway with Mommie Dearest this has been difficult for her
Towleroad ...and there's video of the event, too!
Theater Mania to say that I am excited to see Ellen Green reprise her Audrey Little Shop of Horrors role this week (I bought tickets the day they went on sale, long before Jake Gyllenhaal nabbed the Seymour part) would be the understatement of the summer. I'm more excited for it than any upcoming movie. Yes, even Magic Mike XXL. She talks about returning to the role.
Awards Daily Kathryn Bigelow (our filmmaker of the month for Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures" series, every Thursday) pens an op-ed on endangered elephants

Birth.Movies.Death New Spider-Man movie will have a "John Hughes Vibe" and they're not going back to the Goblin again for a villain. Wow... you mean they realized that three times as villain in 12 years was enough?
Hayley Atwell continues to ace her social media game 
VF Meryl Streep asking Congress to revive the Equal Rights Amendment 
EW why Inside Out kept "Bing Bong" a secret (would that more films would keep em)
Nicole Kidman just celebrated 9 years with Keith Urban 
Interview Kyle Maclachlan talks about returning to Agent Dale Cooper for Twin Peaks
Dissolve upcoming movies for EuropaCorp including a sequel to Lucy... even though Scarlett Johansson morphed into an entirely digital entity by the end? well, ok!
The Movie Scene on all this talk of gender equality in "objectification" for the cinema which is usually lusting after only women
Ant-Man gets a "meet the crew" tv spot so finally David Dastmalchian, T.I., and especially the always wonderful Michael Peña show up in the promotional material

Oscar Talk
Hot Blog setting the Best Picture field -is Carol the only possibility thus far that's been seen
THR on the more inclusive more foreign Academy invites 

Must Read
Vulture's TV Awards series has been fairly cool, including entries from actual TV artists, but they ended incredibly strong with this piece by Matt Zoller Seitz on Mad Men as TV's Best Show overall. Frankly, it might well be the best essay on Matthew Weiner's masterful achievement that I've ever read and I've read a lot of them! Love this 'graph near the opening:

All of the episodes, even the ones I don’t especially like, are inexhaustibly detailed: packed with comic and dramatic moments; period-accurate clothing and hairstyles and music; imaginative, hilarious, and often deeply moving performances; and screenwriting that depicts the complexities and contradictions of the human personality with more insight and empathy than any American series in recent memory. It’s a historical drama about how individuals are and are not affected by the local, national, and international history that’s constantly unfolding around them. It’s a psychodrama about how our personalities are shaped by our parents, our lovers, our friends, our bosses, and everyone else we know, as well as by people we’ve never met but feel as though we know: the politicians, civil-rights leaders, athletes, movie stars, musicians, and other icons who inspire, entertain, confound, and sometimes anger us as we muddle through our daily lives. It’s also a series with an unusually strong affinity for mythology, spirituality, religion, psychoanalysis, pop psychology, literature, poetry, cinema, and all the other means by which human experience is transformed into narrative. And at every level — the scene, the episode, the season, and in total — it is a masterpiece of construction, filled with major and minor bits of foreshadowing and recollection, lines and images that seem to answer each other across time.

Read it! And hope along with us that it pulls off a historic fifth win at the Emmys in September. Mad Men (2008-2011 wins) is currently tied with Hill Street Blues (1981-1984 wins), LA Law (1987,1989-1991 wins), and The West Wing (2000-2003 wins) for the most Drama Series wins (4 each). The leader for nominations is Law & Order which was nominated 11 times, far outdistancing its nearest rivals (The Sopranos, Mad Men, ER, Studio One, and The West Wing)

P.S. on the TV Front:  I just watched my first episode of Fresh Off the Boat since y'all were complaining about Constance Wu not making our Best Actress list. It's really funny. They won "best couple" at Vulture 

PRIDE WEEKEND - SHOWTUNE TO GO...
I was feeling so much love for heroes of the past (and present -- it used to be that only Broadway had multiple out stars but now every medium does) but I was especially pleased that I wasn't the only one singing Madonna's praises... she supported the LGBT community long before it was par for the course with celebrities but gays can be fickle and though her iconic status will never be undone, sometimes people are assholes about her what with all the ageism and so on. 

All in all it was a good weekend. And all the marriage equality will eventually lead us into a less homophobic world as there are endless examples of people being less prejudiced once they are familiar with the "other" (any kind of prejudice applies). On this note, Variety is wondering when film is going to catch up with TV when it comes to comfort with the gays?  

Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi were the Grand Marshalls of the NYC parade. And anyway, gay geniuses of the past and out talents of the present should both be celebrated. And not only on Pride Weekend. So how about some Cole Porter via John Barrowman in the movie De-Lovely as we move into a new week. (That movie is kind of a mess -- anyone remember it? -- but this seen is lovely) 

Wednesday
Jun102015

HBO’s LGBT History: And the Band Played On (1993)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions... 

Last week we looked at a biopic of one of the most reviled political figures in twentieth century American history in Citizen Cohn. This week we continue our collection of HBO AIDS films (notice that every single film we’ve discussed so far has been centered on the epidemic: from the Harvey Fierstein chamber piece, Tidy Endings, to Epstein & Friedman’s Oscar winning doc, Common Threads and even that James Woods’-led biopic which structured itself around Cohn’s own battle with the disease) by looking at And the Band Played On, a film you should all watch if for no other reason than to see the eclectic cast Aaron Spelling (yes, he produced it!) assembled.

Lily, Sir Ian, and a troubled production history after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr072015

Best Actor. April Foolish Predictions

It's that time of year. But judging on your semi-quiet response maybe you weren't quite ready for it yet? Anyway. Light a fire. Whoohoo. It's time to pull out the crystal balls and make stupidly early Oscar predictions.

There are so very many questions to ask about the forthcoming Best Actor race. These are just 8 of them:

• Can Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) be the first back-to-back acting winner in 21 years?
• Will Tom Hiddleston (I Saw the Light) & Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead) do their musician legend biopics proud?
• Will Michael Fassbender prove Michael Fassbender's undoing (5 leading roles this year)?
• Same question for Jake Gyllenhaal (3 leading roles this year)?
• Perennial Write-In Question from Leo "when will it finally be my turn?" 
• Can money-grubbers Will Smith (Concussion) & Johnny Depp (Black Mass) find artistic redemption and thus Oscar favor?
• Can Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) triple-crown by February next year? He's already got the Tony & the Emmy 
• Will any of the old guard (Warren Beatty, Tom Courtenay, Sir Ian McKellen) rise up?
• Will Beasts of No Nation sort out its theater vs online situation so that Idris Elba has a shot?

SEE THE NEW CHART. Discuss.

Monday
Jun232014

anything can happen in the woods... ♪ can i link you? 

LA Curbed Character actress extraordinaire Agnes Moorehead's was apparently a wealthy gal. Her former home is going for $19 million. Whoa!
Empire new stills from The Imitation Game which I'm hearing very positive buzz on
HuffPo remembers Batman (1989) with pictures from the original premiere. Such a blast from the past. Remember when Robert Downey Jr and Sarah Jessica Parker were a couple!? Glenn Close looks so young. Anybody know the unnamed woman with Tim Burton?
In Contention Kris Tapley also paid tribute to the film which he says he owes... a lot

Movie Mezzanine Lars von Trier was making movies about "rape culture" before it had a name. Discussion of Dogville & Breaking the Waves
/Film Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience (2009) is becoming a TV series. Lodge Kerrigan who made the disturbing indie Clean, Shaven (1993) and the actress Amy Seimetz are writing and directing.
VF Hollywood Katey Rich on Gary Oldman's angry comments defending Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin's language
Vulture Hollywood's leading men arranged by height with Kevin Hart and Daniel Radcliffe as the tiniest though weirdly they skip the very tallest ones like Hugh Jackman (6'2") and Chris Hemsworth (nearly 6'3") 
Buzzfeed Daniel Radcliffe sorts celebrities into Hogwarts houses. Streep for Gryffindor ("because she's awesome"), Jon Hamm for Hufflepuff, Benedict Cumberbatch for Ravenclaw, etcetera  
In Contention composer Alexandre Desplat to head the Venice Film Festival jury
Sir Ian McKellen he's now "Doctor" Sir Ian McKellen 

Corrections or Damage Control?
Stephen Sondheim has issued a clarifying statement about Into the Woods after all the negative reaction to the changes he said Disney made. Time has passed since he made the comment...

...I had not yet seen a full rough cut of the movie. Coincidentally, I saw it immediately after leaving the meeting and, having now seen it a couple of times, I can happily report that it is not only a faithful adaptation of the show, it is a first-rate movie.

And for those who care, as the teachers did, the Prince's dalliance is still in the movie, and so is "Any Moment."

I'm not sure I trust Sondheim to judge a movie. He also approved damaging changes to the film version of Sweeney Todd and just because you're a genius in one medium, doesn't mean you know what's best or even good in another.

Two Tweets
Yeah, yeah, I'm quoting myself but for those of you who aren't on twitter I'd thought you'd enjoy/relate...

 

 

 

And my favorite Tweet of the day because it's good lolz

 

 

Tuesday
May202014

Curio: Celebrating Sir Ian 

Alexa here with some film curios for you. It's a big week for Sir Ian McKellen.  X-Men: Days of Future Past opens with his return as Magneto (along with Fassy playing the younger version of course) and on Sunday he turns 75.  He has much to celebrate, such a long and storied career on stage and screen, but I do wish there'd been an Oscar by now (he was my pick in 1999 for his James Whale in Gods and Monsters).  Maybe his turn as an aged Sherlock Holmes in A Slight Trick of the Mind will bring one? I'm already excited to see his interpretation of the deductive master.

 For now, here are some goodies to wish him a happy three-quarters century.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May192014

Remembering X-Men (2000)

It's Mutant Week! With X-Men Days of Future Past, the 4th X-Men movie upon us nearly upon us -- Yes, fourth, shut up...Last Stand and both Wolverine solo movies do not exist...lalala ♪ I can't hear you -- we should celebrate Marvel's homo superior this week, even if we have to do so by way of 20th Century Fox.

Herewith a retrofitted piece celebrating my choice for "Best Shot" from the first movie. (If you'd like to play the Best Shot game, post your choice by tomorrow night and I'll link up in the index) 

In some ways the original X-Men (2000) is a tentative and mediocre movie: the budget limitations are obvious, Halle Berry is as lost as you remembered (though Storm is a strangely minor character), and the central evil plot is just dumb. But in other ways it's undervalued and not just because of the downward spiral that followed after the sequel.

X-Men makes smart choices about narrowing its focus for a first film (centering on Wolverine & Rogue) and the one character it totally reimagines -- that'd be Mystique -- is a major success.

What's more director Bryan Singer actually makes use of the widescreen in his mise-en-scène. Too few filmmakers do, just shoving everything into the center of the frame or shooting everything in relentless close-up. Even action sequences are shot with a preference for top of head and chin shaving close-ups these days but, much like musical numbers, action sequences are more memorable and coherent when they include whole bodies in the frame. And even though Singer's compositional tricks get a bit repetitive, like the recurring out of focus introduction of characters in the background, which you can see above, they're aesthetically pleasing.

X-Men was lensed by Newton Thomas Sigel, who has shot all of Singer's movies since The Usual Suspects (1995). This is my favorite shot in the film, Wolverine lost in the X-Mansion, bewildered by the new sites. He sees his reflection multiplied, across the team uniforms. Isn't it a beauty, narratively speaking? And Jackmanically speaking, too.

What are your fondest memories of the first film? 

Friday
Apr112014

Splink!

In Contention the Stephen Hawking biopic Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne is getting an Oscar prime November release. Best Actor is going to be tight this year, people
Telegraph interviewed Winona Ryder last month. Not sure how I missed this one but it's a good interview with smart comments on her career and age.
Shadowplay "things I read off the screen in In The Heat of the Night" interesting piece on 1967's Best Picture

Playbill has a history of Cabaret's journey from the pages of "Goodbye to Berlin" to the stage and screen
Cinema Blend I hadn't heard about this but there's a Twilight related lawsuit going on about profit sharing. Apparently Robert Pattinson made $25 million from Breaking Dawn. Wow.
Pajiba on Rob Lowe's "awesome" Reddit AMA
The Playlist Denis Villeneuve's career is heating up post Prisoners/Enemy and he's prepping a sci-fi thriller called The Story of Your Life which might star Amy Adams. It sounds vaguely Contact-esque to me.
Towleroad X-Men Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy do great impressions of Sir Ian McKellen and more. Adorable.
AV Club on "the return of the consumptive heroine" via The Wind Rises and Winter's Tale 

Today's Watch
It's a new Batman short in the style of his animated adventures in the 90s to celebrate his 75th anniversary (which is actually in but people are excited so they're starting early)

 

Creative Tributes
Cinema Blend Jackie Chan, who turned 60 this year, has been immortalized with a portrait in chopsticks
i09 2001: A Space Odyssey gets an homage via fruits and vegetables in this commercial 
Chaz Ebert her late husband Roger Ebert is getting a statue during EbertFest 

An Actor's Director
Guardian Sean Penn is returning to the director's chair for a South African romantic drama starring his new squeeze Charlize Theron (originally from South Africa so that's kind of cool) and Javier Bardem. My main concern with Penn as a director is that he's just so heavy/grim. I hope he finds a way for a range of tones here. This will also be Adele Exarchopoulos follow up to Blue is the Warmest Colour as she's playing a journalist

And finally...


AV Club let's us now the remake of Time Cop (1994) is back on. I don't care about this but I will take any excuse to post Jean Claude Van Damme's infamous kitchen counter split. It's one of my most vivid memories of 1990s moviegoing. What?