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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Viola Davis (42)

Friday
Aug082014

Review: Get On Up

Michael has joined Nathaniel on weekend review duties so you get two. Here he is on Get On Up...

The opening scenes of Get On Up are so loose and dynamic they give the viewer reason to hope that Tate Taylor’s take on James Brown’s life story sidestepped the pitfalls that trap so many musical biopics. The film shuffles back and forth through Brown’s life with such breathless energy it’s as if the screenplay itself is possessed by the spirit of Soul Brother No. 1. It’s exhilarating, but the thrill dissipates quickly when it becomes clear that underneath the exploded chronology and the surface razzmatazz, Taylor’s film is operating from the same old biopic playbook. It turns out Get On Up is as square as the squarest prestige Oscar grab, right down to the dumb trope of pinning all of the star’s self-destructive behavior to a childhood trauma.

With the hyper-kinetic structure, not to mention the wall-to-wall James Brown music (which remains irresistible) it’s easy to miss the fact that the Get On Up never musters much insight into its subject. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business was the next logical choice to get the Walk the Line treatment, so here we all are. The script by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth opts for an all-of-the-above approach that skips from topic to topic without ever really coming to a point. Here’s James Brown performing in Vietnam. Here’s an unknown Brown stealing an open mic night from Little Richard. Here’s a past-his-prime Brown stoned out of his gourd, waving a shotgun around while wearing a hideous green sweat suit. No one will miss the boring old three-act arc, but the portrait of the man never emerges from the mosaic.

More...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul262014

Live from Comic Con: Teasing Crimson Peak, Godzilla 2, Blackhat

Anne Marie still here in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con, delivering unto you the major studio announcements via an increasingly busy LTE signal. Legendary Pictures was up after WB, ready to deliver on its name. Here's what it brought.


Godzilla 2
Despite the fact that Godzilla isn't even on DVD yet, Legendary rolled out an announcement that the King of Monsters would get a round two. Via recorded message, director Gareth Edwards thanked congoers for inspiring Legendary to make the film two years ago, and for ensuring its success. Then, they revealed the identities of Godzilla's next three adversaries: Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidora. That's 4 monsters for the price of one. Will Legendary be stretching its 100 ton supermonster too thin?

Michael Mann's thriller and Guillermo del Toro all-star Crimson Peak cast after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr102014

Where My Girls At? Brie Larson, Viola Davis, Kiki Dunst & More...

And now our semi-weekly check in with actresses we love. Where / What / Who are they up to?

BRIE
Brie Larson has accepted an offer to star in the psychological horror drama as "Ma", about a woman who's trapped in her father's basement for years with her son. It's based on the novel by Emma Donoghue who also did the screenplay but the novel is narrated by the 5 year old child who's only ever known this one room so that one's going to be tricky to make breathe as a film. This seems a better fit for her dramatic gifts than that dumb Terminator reboot she lost out on. The actress is in demand now post Short Term 12 as well she should be. She's also got The Gambler remake and the comedy Trainwreck coming out. Room is not the only novel adaptation she's attached to. She'll probably co-star in The Good Luck of Right Now based on a forthcoming novel by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick. From descriptions of the novel I'm guessing she's playing the librarian girlfriend of the bipolar leading man, who believes she was once abducted by aliens. [src]

VIOLA
As we feared but predicted Hollywood wasted the golden years right after The Help (a white actress in that kind of huge hit / breakthrough would have gotten a ton of follow up offers) and kept on casting Viola Davis in thankless supporting bits that didn't really require her skill level. Just as they'd always done. But the actress stays busy. As previously discussed she has a small but potentially showy role in Get On Up, the James Brown biopic.  And she is politically active too. The actress, who often went hungry as a child living in poverty is speaking out as part of the "Hunger Is" initiative. [src

You wake up thinking about food, you go to sleep thinking about food. We live in a country where you can have anything in your reach, and it's emotionally shameful to live in a land of plenty with nothing to eat. 

That little girl who grew up in dysfunction and poverty is still with me. That's why I need to help those who don't have a voice."

She's already filmed her next five roles: as previously discussed she'll play the showy small role of James Brown's mom in Get On Up (August, 2014); she's excellent as a college professor in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Pts 1 and 2 (release date still TBA but I saw it at TIFF); she's in Michael Mann's thriller Cyber (January, 2015) with Chris Hemsworth as the headliner and supposedly her role is large there as an FBI agent; She'll headline Shonda Rhimes TV series "How To Get Away With Murder" and if it gets picked up past the pilot, don't expect to see her on your movie screens for awhile; The other leading role is Lila & Eve (she plays Lila) but her co-star is... (wait for it)... Jennifer Lopez? Huh. They play moms out to avenge their children who were gunned down in a drive by. The film is directed by Charles Stone III (Mr 3000 and Drumline). There's been little movement on the most exciting Viola projects though -- still no word on a film version of Fences (her Tony winning role despite the obvious marketability (Denzel Washington  is proven to be one of the surest box office draws in the world) and her proposed biopic about politician Barbara Jordan with a screenplay by Tony Kushner is also quiet. Both are the kind of prestige projects that could challenge her and win her an Oscar but I fear neither are going to happen.

SIGOURNEY
[SPOILER ALERT] Lt. Ellen Ripley may return in Prometheus 2 from Ridley Scott. Rumor has it that Sigourney Weaver will return to her signature role. Or a clone version thereof. [/SPOILER]

MICHELLE
There is nothing happening. I continue to be so disappointed that she does not care. She's an empty-nester this year even so for god's sake get back to work.

KIKI
Kirsten Dunst, whose career is back on track with the 1-2-3 punch of great performances in All Good Things, Bachelorette, and Melancholia has upset people with not-exactly progressive gender comments she made to Harpers Bazaar UK (she's on the cover, pictured above). But we're here to talk about her career. 

She'll be back on screens very soon in the Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces of January (torn between Viggo & Oscar Isaac? Tough life) and not very soon but maybe later this year in Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special a father and son sci-fi-tinged drama (his follow up to Mud so one assumes he'll get bigger budgets now) so it surely won't be focused on her. Still... I feel more offers really ought to be headed her way, right? Her career is back on track but it isn't quite on fire. Some auteur needs to bring some gasoline. Because, as former co-star Ben Foster agreed in our interview in 2011, her talent is major. "She is a beast of an actor, always has been." 

Friday
Mar142014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Get On Up"

You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

I love The Help (2011). I don't care who knows it. So I'm immediately curious about Get On Up, Tate Taylor's follow up which reunites Minny & Aibileen though they both take a back seat since this time it's the story of rock legend James Brown (Chadwick Boseman). This trailer also starts with an affirmative.

You special. And your momma's a no account fool. But you ain't gonna be. One day everybody gonna know your name"

JAMES BROWN [*makes applause sound*]

Okay so that's not as universal an affirmation but... wait. oh. That makes Viola Davis the 'no account fool'? Do over! Not sure I'm okay with this. Time for a Yes No Maybe So™ 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct072013

Jessica Chastain ♥ Viola! Does Jessica Chastain ♥ Gravity? 

Hayden, a faithful reader, commenter, and fellow actressexual, alerted me to Jessica Chastain's latest love-fest on Facebook. That girl does emote with girlie gusto and I love her for it (as previously noted).  I follow her so I'm not sure how I missed this one but if I were Sasha Stone at Awards Daily I'd be feeling pretty spectacular that such a great actress described me as "amazing". No world class actress ever said that about me [commence sobbing]...

I was busy picturing Jessica Chastain in an astronaut suit when I read this status update. Picturing Jessica Chastain in movies she's not in is an AMAZING time waste. Try it some time. After I was done with that I realized that Jessica said nothing about Gravity in this post, despite the link to Sasha's article. Maybe she hasn't seen it because if she had wouldn't she have said so?

Meanwhile Hayden was busy obsessing over the last sentence. He writes:

It really bothers me when people IN the industry talk about Viola Davis' career like some charity case. *cough* meryl *cough* But especially since Viola Davis is such a non sequitur to what Chastain was even talking about.

It's like she shouted "Mandy Patinkin, holla" at the end of her post.

LOL. 'Mandy Patinkin, holla' -- voiced by Claire Danes for her first Homeland win -- is surely one of the greatest things ever uttered in an acceptance speech and I think of it EVERY time that I see Mandy Patinkin being awesome. Which is often, in fact, since he is. I've loved him since the skinny-dipping in Yentl and that didn't even turn out to be the highlight of his cross-platform career.

Are you watching the new season of Homeland? This tweet made me laugh so hard last night...

 

 

Regarding Viola Davis...

Listen... I say what Jessica Chastain said all the time and it's true that it's a charity case. BUT NOT FOR VIOLA.

 

This charity is for audiences because she's a freaking GREAT actress and we need much more of her than Hollywood seems willing to give. Put her back in a spacesuit actually and we'll talk again. She was so good in Solaris in a typically small role. Remember that? Honestly I'd watch her in anything. Even when the movie is terrible (*cough* Beautiful Creatures) and her role is thankless, I'm happy to be watching her. 

P.S. If you missed my post on Jessica & Viola's latest collaboration, Eleanor Rigby, check it out.

P.P.S. Wow is this post a ramble. Viola. Mandy. Homeland. Facebook. Sasha Shout Outs. So much to discuss. Go!