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Entries in The Other Woman (4)

Friday
Jan022015

Year in Review: Women in Hollywood Box Office

Two yummy year in review lists per day. Here's Manuel to talk money 

Last year’s Box Office Top Ten is, as we all know by now, populated with talking raccoons, fighting robots, dangerous apes and superheroes of web-slinging and shield-throwing capabilities, so for this end of year report, we’ll focus instead on female-led films and how they fared with the public. It's a celebration of a corner of Hollywood more in line with the TFE sensibility.

Note: I am using “female-led” quite strictly (though, as always, quite subjectively in some cases).


Ensemble films like Guardians of the Galaxy, The LEGO Movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Godzilla are missing from the list below because, while they feature female characters in key roles, they remain male-centric, at best making their female-character (or if we're lucky characters) central amid an obscenely male-skewing world (Saldana in GOTG, Lawrence in XM:DOFP). At worst they side-line their actresses totally - what are Keri Russell and Elizabeth Olsen even doing in their respective films?.

After the jump see what the top 11 female-led films of 2014 grossed last year (along with other lists)

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr272014

Box Office: Cameron Diaz Still Sells Tickets

Hey kids, it's Nathaniel. Amir is busy Hot Doc'ing it up in Toronto (yet another springtime festival!) so I'm here to quickly recite the box office chart. The producers of the Christmas release Annie (previously discussed) must have breathed a huge sigh of relief at the box office receipts for The Other Woman in which Diaz and her two new frenemies (Leslie Mann & Kate Upton) plot to destroy Jaime Lannister who is sleeping with all of them on the down low. Yep, people will stay come out in droves for Cameron Diaz in comic mode. Annie will open big... it's got several marketing hooks even before you get to audience love for funny Cam. 

I haven't yet seen The Other Woman yet but I hear it's quite regressive. Consider this scathing provocatively titled review at The Stranger...

The point of this movie is not sisterhood, but making sure women band together in the name of heterosexual competition. Cameron Diaz is too sexy, Leslie Mann is too frumpy, and Kate Upton is boobs, but boobs that are not good enough to keep a man goddammit. Nicki Minaj joins this horror show as the Sassy Black Secretary™ (it’s 2014, right?)...

THE TOP TEN
01 THE OTHER WOMAN $24.7 *NEW* 
02 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $16 (cum. $224.8) Review
03 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $13.8 (cum. $51.9) 
04 RIO 2 $13.6 (cum. $96.1) 
05 BRICK MANSIONS $9.6 *NEW* 
06 TRANSCENDENCE $4.1 (cum. $18.4)  
07 THE QUIET ONES $4 *NEW* 
08 BEARS $3.6 (cum. $11.1)
09 DIVERGENT $3.6 (cum. $139.4) Review
10 A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 $3.2 (cum. $14.2)

In addition to Tribeca Film Festing, I went to Estelle Parson's new play The Velocity of Autumn in the hopes of catching at least one potential Tony Best Actress nominee before the announcement. But get this: Estelle called out sick so I was stuck with an understudy! The understudy wasn't bad and I liked the play about a very old very cantankerous lady armed with molotov cocktails in her Park Slope brownstone because her children want to put her in a nursing home. And yet it's so obviously a star vehicle (there are only two characters, Tony winner Stephen Spinella plays her son) that I was missing the expert comic timing of the Oscar-winning Parsons throughout. She would have maximized the punchlines and elevated it. The understudy switcheroo hasn't happened to me in a long time though so I made my peace with the theater gods quickly 'bout it. They've been good to me for the past several years and we've all called out sick from work in our lifetimes.

But I still fear the Tony nominations on Tuesday because I've seen like nothing that will be nominated this year. I was concentrating on Off Broadway too much I guess.

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND? 

Sunday
Dec112011

20:11 Just Go With The Eagle. Never Say Never!

Year in Review Fun... Much more to come! Herewith the 20th minute and 11th second of the movies of 2011 in chronological order of US release dateIt's like flipping channels for snapshots of the film year! For those who like a mnemonic challenge, I've written the film titles in invisible ink below each screencap (you can highlight to see them). Would any of these tiny glimpses make you want to stop channel surfing and watch?

january | february | march | april

Part 2: February


- I even stole some once.
- I know. "

THE ROBBER Very intense movie. They're supposedly going to remake it with Andrew Garfield rumored for the title character.

 

-We passed that on the way up.
-I know."

Hotels make people naughty. They do! This is a still from ...THE OTHER WOMAN ... which I did not like at all.


He's a blue?! Not a blue!!!"

GNOMEO & JULIET   ...... which is hoping for animation and original song nominations.

Seven more snapshots after the jump. How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun082011

Reader Request: "The Other Woman"

We held a poll for new DVD write-ups and you chose this one. It's your fault! ;)

You're familiar with the ol' term "edited with a chainsaw", yes? Thist post will surely be written by one. Edited with a chainsaw is an odd phrase since it scapegoats the editor when messy jumbled narrative choices and general incoherence are just as often the fault of screenwriters and directors. Not that editing can't make things worse. Quick, explain what happened in that final battle on the rainbow bridge in Thor because I still don't know. If I ever meet Paul Rubell I will definitely ask him. I don't mean to single Mr Rubell out among editors but my mind lept to Thor because The Other Woman -- our topic du jour -- also stars Her Lady of Ubiquity Natalie Portman. But, really, Thor isn't particularly egregious as incoherent actioners go. Continuity and visual coherence are no longer the end goals they once were. (Thanks for nothing, Paul Greengrass!)

Bad Lawyer! Natalie's sexting when she ought to be working.

When people use that chainsaw phrase today -- if they do at all - it merely means "this makes no sense!" or perhaps  "I hate this". It's flexible which is why it's still useful as verbal shorthand even though there's been no actual "cutting" of film in some time.

What are we even talking about? Oh, yes, The Other Woman: It makes no sense. I hated it.

I wish flexibility were a trait we could assign to writer/director Don Roos' latest but for as much as the new movie twists and bends, frequently and often in its attempt to be several different movies or perhaps a television series, it's always snapping and breaking rather than stretching and settling into new poses. My first urge is to call it incoherent (hence the editing cliché) but that's not quite right. The narrative is neither ambitious nor inept enough for true incoherence. But one thing is for certain, The Other Woman does not know itself. It's vague whenever it needs to be precise and bloated whenever it needs to trim.

Is it a romantic drama? Quite often but only for a few minutes at a time.

Is it a flashback picture about a hasty romantic decision? Well, it's structured a bit like that at first but then you realize the flashback is over and it was more like oddly placed first act decorative exposition and you're back in the present.

Is it a comedy? Not really, although there are a few jokes.

Is it a story about a woman who is way too immature to parent, suddenly thrust into the Stepmom role? It seems like that but then why all the romance? It keeps hinting that there's more to her than immaturity though that "more" never shows itself.

This blended family isn't blending well at all. Both moms, biological & step, like to verbally lash out at everyone around them.

Is it a thorny drama about blended families? Yes, half the time.

Is it a piercing drama about grief and the fragility of new life and love? At times but not for very long at a time.

Do all of these separate movies star two hugely unlikable women, who are members of the First Wives Club and the Young Homewreckers of America club? Ding! Ding! Ding!

Lisa Kudrow and Don Roos have been frequent collaborators for years now, and though he usually casts her as very bitter or frustrated women, they've been able to find such interesting layers of hurt and comedy in the roles. Sometimes she's an outright revelation (particularly in The Opposite of Sex and in her online series Web Therapy). Natalie Portman, who was in the process of winning the Oscar when this film finally arrived, is an uneven actress and she hits some notes here very well (she doesn't shy away from Amelia's immaturity or difficulty at thinking beyond the moment) but it's a repetitive and undercooked performance.

You can forgive a lot when you watch bad movies if the protagonist or antagonist or supporting characters are either straight up likeable or charismatically flawed. But virtually no one in The Other Woman lays claim to your heart. Two of the most generally "likeable" characters, played by Lauren Ambrose and Anthony Rapp, pop in from time to time to provide a laugh line or a sympathetic ear but they're in so little of the movie that it's difficult to get any sort of bead on who they are outside of their trio friendship with Natalie Portman and The Other Woman doesn't care enough about these friendships to suggest anything about their strength.

Rapp, Portman and Ambrose are friends. But how much and for how long?

The three main characters are walking wounded nightmares: Amelia (Natalie Portman) is bitchy, self-deluding, immature and hypocritical (she married a cheater and despises cheaters and doesn't view her actions as inappropriate even though she actively pursues the married man); Carolyne (Lisa Kudrow) is the shrewish ex-wife who is so brittle and unforgiving that you can't help but be glad that her husband escaped her; Jack (Scott Cohen) doesn't make a whole lot of sense and remains a cypher since the film keeps drifting away from him towards the women and his son. You know there's more to him but he only reveals his hurt in the final moments and then, promptly and all too easily, seems to segue immediately back into Father Knows Best mode.

The same day I watched the film I attended a party and I was trying to explain my problem with the film to a friend. Since I was a little buzzed from drinks my critique veered uncomfortably away from the verbal into something approaching charades format; I played Natalie Portman and acted out One Scene As Every Scene, if you know what I mean. It went exactly like this (verbatim!) ...though I wasn't wearing a wig.

This happens over and over again in the movie whether we're in coming-of-age land, the flashback movie, in romantic drama territory, the family strife issues film or baby grief catharsis. All five of the movies we're watching have the same scene: Natalie lashes out, apologizes, feels bad about herself, and continues to blame other people; Repeat for the entire movie until she grows up a teensy bit at the end in an unconvincing and unclimactic way.

Don Roos has made two very good features in the past (The Opposite of Sex and Happy Endings) which both demonstrated a unique voice with a deft command of interlocking character arcs, plotty developments that inform the arcs in question, and the ability to conjure a whole passel of hugely flawed somewhat off-putting characters that manage to be endearing or fascinating because of the good humor, complexity and depth of the characterizations. The Other Woman shares many of these same structural elements but none of the success with them. It's tough to say what went wrong but it went very wrong. Best to call this one That Other Movie, ignore it, and rewatch one of those earlier fine pictures instead. D