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Entries in Vanity Fair (7)

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 ...

Tuesday
Feb042014

Vanity Fair 2014 "The Hollywood Issue" (Part 1)

Ah, our favorite magazine tradition. Vanity Fair's 20th Annual Hollywood Issue is upon us and the dozen stars selected they've selected are very carefully placed (they've read their own reviews). Instead of an all white lineup with a person of color shoved onto the back fold, this is an extremely careful, as if everything has been weighed on a scale: 12 actors, exactly equally split between both men and women, and skin color.

Of course both of those 50/50 visual situations are grossly unreflective of the actual business of Hollywood movies but we're not here to complain but to praise, it's fun to see the cover shaken up ever so slightly. If we were here to complain we'd probably say something about the lack of Asian actors (they never get their due here in America) but no one has ever asked The Film Experience to guest art-direct a cover. 

If they did ask me I would pitch things that wouldn't move copies (which is reason #203 why no one would ever ask me) but which would definitely be fun one-offs: An all senior lineup (Dernsy!, Shirley and all the Dames), an all instantly recognizable supporting/character actor lineup (Like... I dunno Margo Martindale, John Goodman, Jacki Weaver on the cover with Judy Greer sprawled out on the floor on the gatefold with Celia Weston and Bob Balaban and Irrfan Khan behind her... I could go on and on. Someone stop me). An all foreign language imported legends lineup (Bardem, Binoche, Leung, Deneuve, Loren, etcetera), and my personal ultimate fantasy cover, which we'd call "always a bridesmaid" devoted to people who always lose the Oscars they're up for: Amy Adams, Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes, Annette Bening, Sigourney Weaver, Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Marsha Mason, Jane Alexander, and Joan Allen. GOOD LUCK DECIDING WHO GETS THE ACTUAL COVER ON THAT FOLDOUT LINEUP OF TWELVE!

In other words I wouldn't go with people who are always on magazine covers like Julia Roberts and George Clooney. But enough about fantasies. On to reality.  Let's take a closer look, starting with the actual cover

Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor whose film debut was in Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997), is finally getting his due after steadily-rising film work. That's thanks to his incredibly haunted and well judged work in 12 Years a Slave. But we've loved him since Serenity (2005... which incidentally also featured his 12 Years co-star Sarah Paulson) in which his screen presence was impossible to deny.
Stats: 25 Films. 36 Years Old. 1 Oscar Nomination.
Previous Essentials: Dirty Pretty Things, Talk To Me, Children of Men
Next Up for Chiwetel: Z for Zachariah, a sci-fi drama with Margot Robbie (also on this cover) and Chris Pine

Julia Roberts, "America's (Former) Sweetheart", is Oscar resurgent for her "Supporting" [cough] role in August: Osage County wherein she swiped 'Best in Show' reviews from Meryl Streep. Of all the stars gathered for this cover she looks the happiest to be there. But wouldn't you if you were sitting on Idris Elba's lap? 
Stats: 41 Films. 46 Years Old. 4 Oscar Nominations, 1 win.
Previous Essentials: Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding, Erin Brockovich
Next Up for Julia: She's doing Ellen Barkin's angry screaming doctor/Tony winning role in the TV adaptation of the seminal AIDS play The Normal Heart 

Idris Elba, another British import, recently headlined Mandela which won him a Golden Globe nomination, his fourth. After two major critically acclaimed successes on television, he's on many a casting director's list for the movies. 
Stats: 24 Films + A Lot of Television. 41 Years Old. Not Yet Oscar-Nominated. 
Previous Essentials: Luther (TV Series), The Wire (TV Series) 
Next Up For Idris: Three movies in the can coming soon which are No Good Deed, a thriller with Taraji P Henson, The Gunman, a crime drama with Sean Penn and Javier Bardem, and Second Coming a British family drama

George Clooney, who surely needs no recapping as to his profile. Though, as great as he looks in a tux, I was hoping for a fresher choice of a cover subject since he's been so ubiquitous for so long.
Stats: 36ish(?) Films and Lots of TV, 52 Years Old. 8 Oscar Nominations (Directing/Acting/Producing/Writing), 2 wins (Producing/Acting)
Previous Essentials: Out of Sight, Oceans 11, Good Night and Good Luck, Up in the Air
Next Up for Clooney: Monuments Men which he directed and stars in, is about to open, which probably explains the cover. In 2015 he headlines Brad Bird's Disney scifi film Tomorrowland about a former boy-genius inventor.

Do you like the new cover? Here's PART TWO of the closeup breakdown