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Entries in Vanity Fair (9)

Tuesday
Mar292016

Today's Must Read: Streep's "Kramer vs Kramer" Breakthrough

This new book on Meryl's rise will be released at the end of AprilIf you haven't yet chanced upon it or been directed there by multiple excited tweets, make sure to read this excerpt / reworking of a passage from a forthcoming book by Michael Schulman on Meryl Streep's rise to fame via Kramer vs Kramer that's currently gracing Vanity Fair. We've talked about Kramer vs Kramer multiple times here at TFE and it's been heartening to see the critical tide at least slightly turning in the blockbuster drama's favor of late. For a long time cinephiles seemed to despise it, due in no small part to its Oscars. When you beat noticeably ambitious artistic and stylized masterpieces like Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz to the Best Picture crown there's bound to be a backlash if your film is merely human-sized, no matter how resonant and superbly acted it may be. But, a truth, that's always worth noting in movie buff wars: every year has multiple films worthy of praise and just because one gets singled out in the moment, it doesn't mean its worthy of your ire.

But I digress. Read this piece! Here's a bit about the fantasies, realities, and fictions around Meryl Streep's audition --  nobody actually knows which is which since the accounts are different depending on who is interviewed:

Meryl marched into the hotel suite where Hoffman, Benton, and Jaffe sat side by side. She had read Corman’s novel and found Joanna to be “an ogre, a princess, an ass,” as she put it soon after to American Film. When Dustin asked her what she thought of the story, she told him in no uncertain terms. They had the character all wrong, she insisted. Her reasons for leaving Ted are too hazy. We should understand why she comes back for custody. When she gives up Billy in the final scene, it should be for the boy’s sake, not hers. Joanna isn’t a villain; she’s a reflection of a real struggle that women are going through across the country, and the audience should feel some sympathy for her. If they wanted Meryl, they’d need to do re-writes, she later told Ms. magazine.

The trio was taken aback, mostly because they hadn’t called her in for Joanna in the first place. They were thinking of her for the minor role of Phyllis, the one-night stand. Somehow she’d gotten the wrong message. Still, she seemed to understand the character instinctively. Maybe this was their Joanna after all?

That, at least, was Meryl’s version. The story the men told was completely different...

Monday
Feb012016

Vanity Fair's 2016 Hollywood Issue Cover - A Close Look

Someone's been paying attention to every single media firestorm in Hollywood this past year from ageism to equal pay to diversity. Gracing this year's cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue is political showbiz icon Jane Fonda (2 Oscars), the inspirational crusading awesomeness of Viola Davis (1 phantom Oscar -- well, everyone knows she deserved it!), "the world is round people" diva Cate Blanchett (2 Oscars), and equal-pay-demander Jennifer Lawrence (1 Oscar).

VF's "Hollywood Issue" tradition is one of the key attractions in the showbiz circus of Oscar season. Though the covers aren't tied thematically to the Oscars they usually include current nominees. The primary form is a "predict the future superstars" covers in which they lean into the young in-demand crop who are having good years. The less common form is a survey of A listers and legends and a few people that scream "now"  and that's the type we got this year. And girl, it's a beauty.

The only real gripe is that even when the media is actually trying to express diversity (presumably to "help" Hollywood though the media, including this Vanity Fair cover tradition, has its own problems in that arena) they are still thinking in binaries of black and white. Why not include an Asian or Latina actress or let Ellen Page have a place on the cover again since she's still headlining films and working hard to stay in the game after coming out? 

Let's take a closer look after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb062015

Vanity Fair's "Hollywood Issue" Cover 2015 - A Discussion

Yes yes, the latest Annie Liebovitz cut & paste beauty --like everyone is there at the same time! Puhleaze (check out that photoshop shadow behind Benedict's shoulder) -- of shiny celebrities with really good PR teams has arrived and we haven't yet discussed it. My bad. Not from lack of interest, mind. So here it is...

The lucky celebs who made it this year: Amy Adams, Channing Tatum, Reese Witherspoon, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, Oscar Isaac, and Miles Teller. 

You may recall that last year's VF cover was unusually diverse in terms of ethnicity but we're back to the usual collection of whiter shade of pale beauties. But I don't want to get hung up on that issue again. Awards Daily already covered it anyway. Let's talk numbers before we dig in to each fold.

Average Age: 34
Oldest to Youngest: Adams (40), Oyelowo (38), Witherspoon (38), Cumberbatch (38), Isaac (35), Tatum (34), Miller (33), Redmayne (33), Jones (31),  and Teller (27)
Most Obviously Missing: Where is ubiquitous Jessica Chastain?
Extremely Arguable Rough Length of Stardom: Witherspoon (24 years), Miller (11 years), Adams (10 years), Tatum (9), Cumberbatch (6), Redmayne (5), Jones (4), Isaac (4), Teller (3), and Oyelowo (2)
Cumulative Oscar Tally: 10 nominations and 1 win -- Half of the nominations are Amy Adams. Hee!
Not Virgins: Reese Witherspoon (1999), Sienna Miller (2005), Amy Adams (2008), and Felicity Jones (2012) have all been on the Hollywood Issue cover before. 

More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan062015

Link is Strange

THR Grease Reunion! Olivia Newton-John sings with Didi Conn
Vanity Fair Rosamund Pike talks about that scene in Gone Girl (no, not the overrated nothing shower scene. the other one)
The Daily Dot offers up a chart of superhero films and the Bechdel test 
Awards Circuit Clayton shares his personal ballot. He has some weird notions about what "supporting" means (John Lithgow in Love is Strange. smh) but it's fun to see personal favorite lists. They're always more idiosyncratic than critics groups: lots of love for Wild Tales and Eleanor Rigby 
The Atlantic an article on a shift in Madonna's provocation... it's negative but interesting
Grantland has an even better piece on Madonna's consistency and her new old #unapologeticbitch phase. I'm always happy when Madonna inspires cultural thinkpieces. This Girl will never be Gone.

Coming Soon Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone will be back in April 2016 with Michelle Darnell, a comedy about an insider trading excon. I'm rooting for them but please be more taut and more focused and funnier and just better than Tammy. PLEASE. 
Critic Wire asks us to stop paying attention to the Razzies
EW has an Ant-Man cover. Paul Rudd looks good but I have to be honest I'm a little tired of superhero outfits being these butch armorish leather things which has been going on for over a decade now. Let's bring back the bright spandex! 

Speaking of I do love the new poster...

Two Things I Never Tire of Loving About MNPP
Jason's love of Dominic Cooper
Jason's hatred of Jane Wyman 

Follow Ups
Frontiers Matthew Warchus comments on the Pride DVD debacle (discussed earlier)
Flavorwire defends the NSFC for their left field Best Picture choice (discussed earlier) though I myself would be far more eager to come to their defense if they'd exhibited any imagination at all in the other categories 
The Stake remembers some really great Meryl Streep quotes that reflect poorly on Russell Crowe's absolutely obnoxious comments about aging actresses (which we linked up earlier). Ageism is so pernicious and when combined with sexism its extra odious. I'm gearing myself up for another round of this when the new Madonna album comes out and all the people who hate the inevitability of their own eventual death will say she should "act her age" instead of still being a vibrant entertainer in her 50s.

Wednesday
Feb052014

Link Mommy, Link!

Vanity Fair interviews director John Hillcoat (Lawless, The Road) on his controversial Superbowl ad for Coke. I personally loved it. The right-wingers hate its reminder of America as melting pot.
NPR Jehane Noujaim's The Square, nominated for Best Documentary, is having trouble getting screened at home in Egypt 
Theater Mania interviews the great Charles Busch (Die Mommy, Die!) about his career and new play "The Tribute Artist" in which he does impressions of Marilyn, Bette Davis, and Katharine Hepburn among others. (I met Mr Busch at the anniversary Cabaret screening last year and he was so sweet)

Gothamist Alfonso Cuarón's Oscar campaign hits Lincoln Center soon for screenings and discussions of Children of Men and Gravity here in NYC. Ah c'mon Lincoln Center. Throw in Y Tu Mama Tambíen (still his best picture) and we'll totally be talking!
Pajiba on the whitewashing of Egyptian mythology on screen. Why not cast people of color. Joel Edgerton as Ramses? Gerard Butler as an Egyptian god? Ummmm
LA Times Spike Jonze acceptance speech at the WGA's for Her 

Coming Soon.
Mookie provides us with a list of the most exciting Chinese films coming this year. Lots of auteur epics and stars: Chang Chen, Tang Wei, Gong Li, and Takeshi Kaneshiro
Empire Russell Crowe's next drama Fathers and Daughters is from Italian director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness) is loading up on starpower.Also cast: Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Quvenzhane Wallis, Octavia Spencer and Diane Kruger. 
THR Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe will costar in Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees about two suicidal men
Empire Alicia Vikander (yaaaasss) and Kit Harrington (well, he pretty) to co-star in World War I drama The Testament of Youth directed by James Kent. Incidentally Kent has had a long career in TV films but this will be his first feature.
Deadline an update on Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) and his third film The Lobster 

 Finally...
You have undoubtedly read in several places that Jonah Hill & Leonardo DiCaprio are both now attached to a film about the Olympics bombings of 1996. This time Hill will play Lead and Leo supports. It's based on this Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell so we assume it will be called American Nightmare in release (or something else) since that's more generic and that they'll pretend it's not based on anything if the Original Screenplay category looks like an easy get in 2015. (Why am I so cynical?). Certainly the two worked well together in WoWS. Can they recapture the magic and double Oscar nods again? The Wire wonders which movie duo they're aiming to be. 

And in case you missed it at Funny or Die... here is "Jesse Eisenberg's" leaked audition tape for Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman. I LOL'ed the most at the little pantomime of breaking Batma... well, I'll let you watch it.  

 

Tuesday
Feb042014

Vanity Fair 2014 "The Hollywood Issue" (Part 2)

Part 1 ICYMI, the cover with Chiwetel, Julia, Idris and George

The Vanity Fair "Hollywood Issue" tradition with its glorious and glam pull out cover is our favorite among annuals. In this 3 or 4 part series we'll investigate the full issue, generally just as enticing as the cover, starting with the cover itself (parts 1 and 2). Before we get to each star individually we must praise VF for fashioning Lupita just like a living erect golden Oscar -- get that statue, girl! -- instead of just dropping her, subserviently, on the floor like The Hollywood Reporter did! [more]

Click to read more ...