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William Holden in Picnic

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Entries in The Help (40)

Friday
Aug262011

I'm Linking As Fast As I Can

The Hairpin has a huge piece on Ava Gardner's career, femme fatale posing, and storied romantic life. I always always forget she was married to Mickey Rooney because it just seems so wrong.
My New Plaid Pants Thursdays Ways Not To Die... Fashion Faux- Pwned (Serial Mom)
The Critical Condition looks at three (unfortunate) differences between "The Help" as a book and The Help as a movie. 

 

Movie|Line first pics from Bel Ami --not an historical epic about the gay porn studio -- wherein Robert Pattison sexes up various actresses we like: Uma Thurman (pictured below), Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas
The Wow Report congratulations Carrie Fisher on her new look. Jenny Craig worked wonders! 
Cinema Blend Universal keeps dropping film projects. What's going on? 
Grantland predicts the Worst Supporting Actress for this year's Razzies. Agreed that Blake Lively's got at least a nomination sewn up for Green Lantern.
Socialite Life Michael Ian Black recalls his sex scene with Bradley Cooper in Wet Hot American Summer. (Cooper is the only holdout so far on a sequel.) 
IndieWire Jim Carrey's video love letter to Emma Stone. So random.

Finally, did you hear about the big Scarface reunion party to celebrate a special edition BluRay release? Scarface himself Al Pacino, Oscar winner F Murray Abraham, 80s character actor Robert Loggia and 80s hunk Steven Bauer were on hand. But without Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (what, was she too busy?) and especially without Elvira herself, Michelle Pfeiffer, what is even the point? I'm assuming Pfeiffer wasn't there because she's filming Tim Burton's Dark Shadows in London at the moment. But if The Avengers cast can leave Cleveland for a 10 minute walk on at that Disney convention last week, shouldn't they have flown La Pfeiffer cross the Atlantic to class up that party a little? 

Thursday
Aug252011

Who is Jessica Chastain?

Here's pretty much all that we know about her: She was raised in North Carolina, she just turned 30, she's in every seventh movie opening in 2011, and though we've only seen three of them thus far (The Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter) it takes a minute in each to realize that yes, that's her. Even in photoshoots she seems to be more than one person.

Is she a moldable young starlet?
Is she a Swintonesque Off-Hollywood provocateur?
Is she a Lead Star just waiting for her own vehicles?

Further IMDb and Wikipedia grazing reveals that she graduated from Juillard and that her best friend is the actress Jess Weixler (of Teeth fame. How about that?) but the point is this: we like people we can't pin down immediately.

I don't want to play the same character twice. There's something about the feeling of 'I don't think I can do this.' If you have that moment of doubt, you have to rise up and meet it. I learn from my failures more than my successes."
-Chastain to Michael Musto at the premiere of The Debt 

Hitting a Take Shelter screening last night I tweeted "Okay, Jessica Chastain. Show me what else ya got" Of her three summer performances (her fourth The Debt opens soon) it's the least impressive but it's almost the most telling. 'What I got' was the surest indication yet that she's a future Oscar winner as she embraced their favorite role, the long suffering wind-beneath-her-husband's-wings type, with such unfussy naturalistic ease.

Regarding Oscar...
While she's ethereal and lovely in The Tree of Life it seems less an acting feat than a well judged minimalist act to allow Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki's camera and the rich scoring to fill her Way of Grace with meaning. Auteur vessel performance are rarely nominated. While she's hugely entertaining in The Help she probably has too much internal competition for traction. And her most Oscar-friendly role in Take Shelter is within a film that one suspects will be too under the radar for Oscar. She may have to wait for the Kodak theater but it'll be exciting to watch her work her way there.

Sunday
Aug142011

Box Office: The Rise of the Rise of... 

"Cesar is home"... at the top of the box office charts for a second week. The Help's first week bow is nothing to deny though, particularly as it's bound to have legs at the box office since it skews adult. And adults aren't as likely to storm theaters on opening weekend. Expect The Help to leap frog The Apes next weekend as Conan the Barbarian, Fright Night and One Day fight it out for dominance as newbies.

Box Office Dozen (estimates)
01 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES $27.5 (cumulative $104.8)
02 THE HELP [review] $25.5 (cum $35.3)
03 FINAL DESTINATION 5 $18.4 
04 THE SMURFS $13.5 (cum $101.5)
05 30 MINUTES OR LESS $13 
06 COWBOYS AND ALIENS $7.6 (cum $81.4)
07 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER [review$7.1 (cum $156.8)
08 CRAZY STUPID LOVE [your take $6.9 (cum $55.4)
09 HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO [review$6.8 (cum $356.9)
10 THE CHANGE-UP $6.2 (cum $25.7)
11 GLEE: THE 3D CONCERT MOVIE [review$5.7 
12 HORRIBLE BOSSES $2.4 (cum $110)

Talking Points:
Our 'Star Spangled Man' has entered the top ten of 2011 just behind a movie nobody seems to think was a hit: Kung Fu Panda 2. But how high will the Apes rise? After two weeks it's the 18th biggest grosser of the year. Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, now on its last legs, will probably cross the $50 million mark this week. Well done Sony Pictures Classics!

What did you see this weekend? Or do you wait 'til Sunday night to hit the theaters?

Sunday
Aug142011

Melissa Harris-Perry and "The Help"

I fear that I may have to retitle the blog "The Help Experience" but that's okay. This kind of happens when Oscar contenders show up and get everyone talking. Soon there will be more of them and The Help won't hog so much attention.

If you haven't yet read my review, do that please (they don't write themselves!) but today I wanted to discuss Melissa Harris-Perry's righteous fury at the movie (There is a lot of this going around which Sasha Stone discussed recently though Perry was never mentioned).

For those of you who don't Perry she's a professor of political science at Tulane University, her new book "Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America" just came out, and she's regularly on political programs as a talking head.  She's also one of the smartest people alive. Every time she's on television I swoon. When her segments are over I often feel as if the fog has cleared from the subject under scrutiny, her commentary is so perceptive and accessible. Gender, race and politics of the South are kind of her thing so, naturally, she HATED The Help. But she was amusing about it so I thought I'd share her disgruntled tweets.

They're not as incisive and genius as her political commentary but 140 characters, y'know. Read on!

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug122011

Sandra Bullock on Octavia Spencer

Methinks Octavia Spencer, currently stealing The Help (reviewed) as pie-baking Minnie, already has one Oscar vote. Here's Sandra Bullock on her former co-star from A Time To Kill (1996):

Her energy and personality are so infectious that any room she walks into, everyone wants to be her friend, or just hang out with her and be in her space. Now, that doesn't always mean someone like that has a talent for the camera, but in this case it does.

When you meet her, you know she is destined to entertain. I know not all people with tremendous talent are given the opportunities that they so deserve, but in this case a lifelong friendship with Tate Taylor brought together two very talented people who deserve success and who are grateful for it. This opportunity will not go wasted or be abused by one fabulous Octavia Spencer.

That quote is from the new Backstage profile of Octavia Spencer in which Octavia's career thus far is mapped out. I didn't know this but it turns out that she was on the casting team of A Time To Kill before getting a role, her first. (I tried valiantly to find a photo of them together, but no luck). Spencer had previously intended to be a producer, not an actress. She credits Sandra Bullock for giving her the push!