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Hammer Vol. 1 – Fear Warning!

Starting out in 1939 as the little studio that could, Hammer would finally make their reputation in the late fifties reimagining Universal’s black and white horrors as eye-popping Technicolor gothics – their pictorial beauty, thanks to cameramen like Jack Asher and Arthur Ibbetson, was fundamental to the studio’s legacy. So it’s been more than a little frustrating to see such disrespect visited upon these films by home video companies happy to smother the market with grainy prints, incoherent cropping and under-saturated colors. The House of Hammer and the film community in general deserve far better than that.

Thanks to Indicator, the home video arm of Powerhouse films based in the UK, those wrongs are beginning to be righted, starting with their impressive new release of Hammer shockers, Fear Warning! Even better news for stateside fans; the set is region-free, ready to be relished the world over.

Hammer Vol. 1 – Fear Warning!
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Cross-Post: Lillian Hellman’s Regina Giddens: The Theatre’s Original “Nasty Woman”

Cynthia Nixon as Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes”: Joan Marcus/littlefoxesbroadway.com

The following has been reposted from The Interval with the author’s permission.

When I set out to write a piece on “The Little Foxes,” I headed right to the Drama Book Shop in New York City, to browse and research all things Lillian Hellman. Shockingly, there were no biographies of her in stock or on order. She was not even included in the Drama Book Shop’s most basic book series outlining the lives of accomplished American playwrights. I perused Barnes and Noble and independent bookstores with large theatre sections, but all to no avail. The most recent Hellman biography (less than five years old and provocatively titled “A Difficult Woman”) was even hard to obtain on Amazon; I had to purchase it through a third party seller. Not only are Hellman biographies in short supply, so too are Hellman revivals. Her plays have only been brought back to Broadway six times total, as opposed to the 25 Broadway revivals for Arthur Miller, or the 31 Broadway revivals for Tennessee Williams. To this day, she has never won a Best Play or Best Revival of a Play Tony Award. The sixth and current Hellman revival is of her most acclaimed play, “The Little Foxes,” which is about the unconventional Southern matriarch Regina Giddens, who manipulates her brothers’ moneymaking scheme with grit, ambition, and business acumen.

Of course, Hellman was a fairly unconventional woman herself. Born into a Southern Jewish family, Hellman was, as a woman and a Jew, automatically placed in the periphery of society, twice over. Nevertheless, she grew up to become a popular playwright, spinning successful stories depicting strong women. Independent and outspoken, at the time of her first Broadway hit she was a divorcée engaged in a fairly public love affair with a married man. Hellman was even blacklisted in the McCarthy Era for refusing to cooperate with the Huac [House Un-American Activities Committee], instead famously claiming, “I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” But these things were part of her notoriety and celebrity appeal, not the cause of her downfall. Despite her apparently unladylike lifestyle, Hellman was adored throughout the middle of the 20th Century. Her reputation only became irreversibly tarnished in the 1970s, when a fellow female writer accused her of plagiarism. By the time of her death in 1984, this once celebrated woman had fallen into a state of semi-obscurity in comparison to her contemporaries.

A recent New York Times article by Jason Zinoman (in response to an article by Washington Post critic Peter Marks) questioned whether Hellman actually belonged in “the same elite club of 20th-century masters” as Miller and Williams. Zinoman concluded that Manhattan Theatre Club’s current revival of “Foxes” would be an opportunity for the piece to prove itself. (He neglected to mention that this Mtc production is the only revival of a play on Broadway this season that was written by a woman. Furthermore, it is the first time a woman has produced this play on Broadway; a woman has still never directed it.) It is absurd to think that nearly 80 years after “Foxes” debuted, the play is still fighting to prove its worth. For the record, reviews of the Mtc revival from The Washington Post, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter described “Foxes” as “worthy of exalted rank in the American canon,” “astonishingly well-constructed,” and “too seldom revived on Broadway,” respectively. Even The New York Times review — albeit not by Zinoman — conceded that “Foxes” certainly “comes pretty close” to deserving “a place in the first rank of American theater.”

Curious to know how earlier productions of “Foxes” had been received by theatrical critics, I downloaded some reviews from The New York Times archives. Three Broadway revivals ago, a 1981 article by Frank Rich described Regina, the tour-de-force protagonist of “Foxes,” as a “malignant southern bitch-goddess.” The same paper that refused to print the full title of the play “The Motherfucker with the Hat” in 2011 had no problem printing the word “bitch” 30 years earlier. These days, the word “bitch” is used fairly casually (and it is certainly not likely to be considered as potentially offensive as “motherfucker”), but it is still a derogative, gendered word for which there is no male equivalent. “Motherfucker” might well be the next closest thing.

A 2014 article by Justin Peters on the Times’ “profanity policy” quoted Standards Editor Philip B. Corbett, who explained that Times writers “are prepared to make exceptions if the use of a vulgarity is newsworthy or essential to the story, or if avoiding it would deprive readers of crucial information.” The position of standards editor had not yet been created at the Times when Frank Rich published his 1981 review, but the profanity policy was based on rules from the paper’s style guide at the time. Was it “essential” to refer to Regina as a “bitch”? Would readers have been “deprived crucial information” if another word had been used instead? Not likely, considering that Brooks Atkinson managed to review the original production for the Times back in 1939 without resorting to profanity (although the character of Regina was described there as “heartless,” “ambitious,” “avaricious,” “malevolent,” “calculating,” “hateful,” “rapacious,” “cunning,” and “odious.” Synonyms for bitch, perhaps?).

Just as there is no male equivalent for “bitch,” there seems to have historically been no real equivalent critical response to similarly strong, complex female characters in plays by the men who made up Zinoman’s “elite club of 20th-century masters.” In the Times’ 1945 review of the original “Glass Menagerie,” critic Lewis Nichols is almost an apologist for Amanda, to whom he frequently refers not by name but as “The Mother.” He sympathetically describes her as “a blowsy, impoverished woman living on memories,” and “trying to do the best she can for her children.” Brooks Atkinson’s Times review of the original 1947 “A Streetcar Named Desire” is similarly apologetic. He glosses over the darker sides of Blanche’s personality, tactfully considering her to be “one of the dispossessed whose experience has unfitted her for reality.” Both Amanda and Blanche, creations of the male imagination, are given far more credit and understanding than Regina. Granted, these women do not appear to be quite as greedy as Regina; Amanda wants security for herself, through her children, while Blanche wants to return to her glorified past. But it’s worth keeping in mind that Regina wants to make money in order to go to Chicago, where she envisions leading a freer, more cosmopolitan life.

Perhaps a more fitting comparison would be to “The Crucible,” which features the selfish, destructive Abigail (though even she can be viewed empathetically if one believes that she acted out of desperate love for John Proctor). However, there is barely any mention of the character Abigail — and none at all by name — in the original 1953 New York Times review of “The Crucible,” written, once again, by Brooks Atkinson. The actress who played her is only briefly referenced, as “the malicious town hussy,” one in a long list of supporting performers. In contrast, Ben Brantley observed how the “frustrated lust in [Abigail’s] condemnation of her fellow townspeople [turned] self-serving duplicity into self-deluding mania,” and devoted multiple paragraphs to that character in his review of the 2002 Broadway revival.

“Malicious” and “hussy” are certainly words that fit right in with the sexist criticism of Regina Giddens, but they are a far cry from the litany of negative barbs ascribed by Brooks Atkinson to Regina. It’s as though it were easier in this case for Atkinson to take the strong, rebellious woman out of the equation, erasing the love triangle at the play’s core. Isn’t that “depriving readers of crucial information,” more so than profanity? Ought we give Atkinson credit for not altogether excluding Regina from his “Foxes” review, or should we criticize his seemingly limited ability to recognize when unladylike women are central to the plot of a play (and only when the playwright is female too)? Either way, the bar seems pretty low.

It was only when I left off scouring mid-20th century theatrical reviews of plays by men and went further back in time, to Scandinavia in the late 19th century, that I discovered a true equivalent to the critical response to Regina. The playwright was Henrik Ibsen and the central character in question was Nora Helmer (ironically, there is a new sequel to “A Doll’s House” on Broadway this season; it was far better received by critics than was the original source material). When “A Doll’s House” first premiered in Denmark in December of 1879, critics attacked Nora’s moral character. As archived and translated by the National Library of Norway, the Danish newspaper Illustreret Tidende wrote that “her faults were many; she was used to making herself guilty of many small untruths, she taught the children falsehood, she was imprudent and wasteful; her ideal nature she kept hidden, almost willfully.” Such intense scrutiny of a woman’s behavior feels more suited to the muckraking journalists of the early 20th Century, or of 21st century Republican political ads targeting opponents, than theatrical criticism.

In contrast, a century later, “A Dolls House” had become an established classic and Liv Ullmann was described as giving “a rich, many-layered performance that has about it the quality of a moral force,” in Clive Barnes’ review of the 1975 Broadway production. Critics in 20th century America didn’t judge Nora as harshly as they had when the play originally debuted, and yet they seemed to apply those 19th century standards to Regina Giddens in “The Little Foxes.” It would seem that the harsh response to Regina’s character was more in line with the critical response to Nora in 1879 than it was to reviews of Nora, or Blanche DuBois, or Amanda Wingfield, or any other strong female character in a mid- to late-20th century production of a play written by a male playwright.

But it is not my intention to throw shade at 19th century Danish critics, nor at The New York Times. They aren’t the only ones fond of derogative words when it comes to Regina. Elizabeth Hardwick of The New York Review of Books called her a “greedy bitch” in reference to the 1967 “Foxes” revival. While she acknowledged that Regina and her brothers (her fellow co-conspirators in the financial scheme) were “the very spirit of ruthless Capitalism,” Hardwick used the far weaker word “coarse” to describe the brothers, in parallel sentence structure to Regina’s “bitch” adjectives. It is as though she is implying that ruthlessly capitalistic men are coarse while ruthlessly capitalistic women are greedy bitches. It seems Regina’s unladylike behavior has historically perturbed some female theatre critics as well as male. And lest any readers think that the current “Foxes” revival has escaped the clutches of such language, Deadline’s Jeremy Gerard used the phrase “queen bitch” to describe Regina (while simply referring to her brothers as “greedy”) in his review from April 2017.

To be fair, 21st century critics have spent more time pondering Regina’s psychology and motivations than in the past, when most of the character’s (limited) praise had to do solely with how great actresses played her. In 1939, Atkinson grudgingly admitted Regina “has to be respected for the keenness of her mind and the force of her character,” but attributed all the credit to Tallulah Bankhead’s superior acting skills. In 1981, Rich praised Hellman for “throw[ing] her actors the prime red meat of bristling language,” and appreciated Elizabeth Taylor’s ability to find the humor in Regina. In the 1990s, Ben Brantley proclaimed that despite her horrific behavior, “[f]ew heroines of American theater are half as much fun as Regina Giddens.”

By 2010, critics seemed slightly more aware of the depths yet to be discussed in Regina’s character. Brantley briefly noted “a bottomless hunger that goes beyond her articulated desires,” in Elizabeth Marvel’s 2010 interpretation of Regina, and compared her to a Wall Street executive, though the majority of his review focused on an interpretation that infantilized Marvel’s Regina, depicting her as a “presexual, premoral 2-year-old, a squalling, grabby little girl.” New Yorker critic and 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als wrote an analysis of Regina that had sarcasm practically dripping off the page like wet ink: “Life can be hard on a privileged white woman. Just look at Regina Giddens and all the drama that Lillian Hellman forces her to cope with,” he wrote. Perhaps despite himself, however, Als revealed he occasionally sympathized with Regina, stating that “one feels a pang, every once in a while, for Regina’s dark hopes. How far could she — or any woman — really go in a small Southern town in 1900?” He even suggested that a successful revival, unlike the one he was reviewing, might “marr[y] contemporary feminist politics to Hellman’s insight into the ways in which class and race and need can eat away at an ambitious woman.”

It wasn’t until 2016, when Peter Marks detected “a humanizing rationale” in that “gorgeous enigma,” proclaiming Regina to be “less than a hero but more than a villain,” that the character really found nuanced understanding. For the most part, the reviewers this spring seemed to agree. There were, of course, a fair amount of articles trying to heighten the competition between Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon, who alternate nightly in the lead role of Regina and the supporting role of her sister-in-law Birdie. For reference, I refer you to headlines such as the oddly worded “Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon Are Doing What ‘Men Do All the Time’ in ‘The Little Foxes’” or the erroneous “Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon were both up for the lead role Broadway’s ‘The Little Foxes.’ They both got it.” In truth, Linney was offered the role and she suggested that her friend Nixon come on board to share it with her. It would’ve been nice to see more headlines focusing on and commending their friendship, as opposed to the supposed drama, between these two respected actresses.

Regina, at least, seems to be getting her due in this revival, despite Deadline’s “queen bitch” name calling. Variety’s Marilyn Stasio described Regina as “one of the strongest female characters in all of American drama,” and, “a spirited modern woman cruelly restrained by the social conventions of her time.” Entertainment Weekly’s Isabella Biedenharn praised Laura Linney as Regina for “allow[ing] the audience to feel the pain of knowing what she could have accomplished, the deals she could have closed, if she were born a man.” These depths and dichotomies were explored even further in Alexis Soloski’s insightful New York Times review of the current revival. She wittily opened her piece with the observation that “Regina Giddens is a flower of Southern womanhood. That flower is a Venus flytrap.” Soloski went on to call Regina “one of the stage’s great antiheroines,” noting how her behavior stems from the fact that she is a woman with “greater ambition and less opportunity to satisfy it than any of her kin.” Soloski did not gloss over Regina’s questionable behavior, but she urged readers to “admire her flair and her grit,” even while “loath[ing] her politics and her methods.”

When I saw “Foxes” back in April, I was struck by an exchange between Regina and her brother Ben, in which Ben tells her she’d “get farther with a smile.” How could that line not stand out, given all of the memes, tweets, late night comedy sketches, and articles all over the world devoted to discussions of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s smile through the 2016 presidential campaign? The New York Times must have been intrigued by this exchange as well. They created a video feature titled “How Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon Smile at Their Enemies.” In the video, Nixon says she considers the ensuing smile that Regina gives her brother Ben to be “almost a perversion of a smile. It’s a smile of hate.”

Times critic Soloski called Regina’s smile “weaponized” and considered her ultimately victorious. Unlike similarly formidable theatrical antiheroines Clytemnestra and Lady Macbeth, who were also willing “to sacrifice some essential femininity, rejecting wifely and maternal instincts” in order to pursue their desires, Regina’s “comeuppance never comes.” She actually gets what she wants. As Soloski wryly stated, the play “leaves her finally in command of her body and her fortune and her future. That’ll get her farther than a smile.”

But how far have we come since 1879, 1939, 1967, or 1981, if we are still calling ambitious female characters “bitches”? If our most revered papers still crudely and unnecessarily objectify women’s bodies in theater reviews and judge respected female directors for being “too serious”? If men are still primarily the ones writing, directing, and reviewing a majority of plays about women that make it to Broadway?

To take things outside the arguably narrow sphere of theater, how far have we come since Hellman’s Huac blacklisting America if it is still acceptable for male politicians to interrupt (#manterrupt) one of the few female senators during multiple Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, and to silence their female peers in congress because “she was warned, she was given an explanation, nevertheless she persisted”? How far have we come if we as a society call female presidential candidates “nasty women” who need to smile more and who deserve to be locked up for minor email scandals while we permit men to commit treason many times over while remaining heads of state?

Not very far indeed.

Cross-Post: Lillian Hellman’s Regina Giddens: The Theatre’s Original “Nasty Woman” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Why Adam West Was the One and Only Batman

Why Adam West Was the One and Only Batman
What's this? Could this be the end for Batman? Rest in peace, Adam West, the one and only Caped Crusader who truly defined the role. There have been so many incarnations of Batman over the years – on the page and on the screen – but Adam West was the one flesh-and-blood actor who ever did justice to the cape, on the Sixties TV series Batman.

West, who died of leukemia Friday at the age of 88, brought deadpan humor and old-school gallantry to the role, week after week; same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Review: Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" (1944); Kino Lorber Blu-ray Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
By Jeremy Carr

There is an immediate appeal in the very premise of Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944), a curiosity that stems from how exactly this story will play out and how the Master of Suspense is going to keep the narrative taut and technically stimulating. It was a gimmick he would repeat with Rope (1948), Dial M for Murder (1954), and Rear Window (1954), similar films where the drama is contained to a single setting. But here, the approach is amplified by having the entirety of its plot limited to the eponymous lifeboat, an extremely confined location that is at once anxiously restricting and, at the same time, placed in a vast expanse of threatening openness.

Following a German U-boat attack that sinks an allied freighter and creates the cramped, confrontational condition, a cast of nine diverse, necessarily distinctive characters are steadily assembled aboard the small vessel (and their variety is indeed necessary
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Movie Poster of the Week: What Ever Happened to Bette and Joan?

  • MUBI
Say what you will about Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette and Joan, which concludes its 8-episode run this Sunday, but for cinephiles it has been extraordinary to have had a major television series so steeped in the lore of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Dramatizing the production of Robert Aldrich’s 1962 Warner Brothers hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, the animosity of its rival stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, and the aftermath of both, Feud requires a measure of familiarity with all the major players and their past lives in order to truly appreciate the poignancy of its moment.Despite its potential for high camp—and if nothing else Feud is a masterpiece of fabulous production and costume design—the show has proved to be remarkably alert to the predicament of women in Hollywood and the paranoia and regret that accompanies the back nine of the life of a Hollywood star.
See full article at MUBI »

Lifeboat

When Alfred Hitchcock films are praised, this 1944 picture tends to get overlooked. Yet it hooks and holds audiences as strongly as any of the Master’s classics. When a handful of English and Americans are lost at sea, survival depends on their ability to cooperate. Can they trust the experienced sea captain — a German — who joins them? And when things become grim, will their behavior be any better than his?

Lifeboat

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1944 / B&W / 1:37 flat full frame / 96 min. /Street Date March 21, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn, Canada Lee

Cinematography: Glen MacWilliams

Art Direction: James Basevi, Maurice Ransford

Film Editor: Dorothy Spencer

Original Music: Hugo W. Friedhofer

Written by: Jo Swerling, story by John Steinbeck

Produced by Kenneth Macgowan

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock goes to war, this time for 20th
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Career-Damaging Taylor-Burton Bomb Revisited and (Surprisingly) Appreciated

'Boom!' movie with Elizabeth Taylor: Critically panned box office disaster featuring memorable headwear. 'Boom!' movie: Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton critical & box office bomb reappraised as 'cult classic' fare If you've never seen Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's 1968 vanity production Boom!, don't feel singled out. Boom! bombed at the box office almost as soon as it blasted on the screen. Since then, however, it has been rediscovered. Directed by Joseph Losey from a screenplay by Tennessee Williams (based on his play The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore), Boom! is a good example of a movie depicting art imitating life imitating art; one that deserves to be described in detail. Sexually repressed temper tantrums and bronchial attacks By then a two-time Academy Award winner, Elizabeth Taylor (Butterfield 8, 1960; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966) plays Flora “Sissy” Goforth, a middle-aged, sexually repressed American (inspired by and written
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Exclusive: Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney Are Ready to Experiment on Stage

Exclusive: Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney Are Ready to Experiment on Stage
When it comes to the Manhattan Theatre Club’s upcoming production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, which will see Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon playing Regina Hubbard Giddens and Birdie Hubbard in repertory appearing opposite each other during every performance, it’s anybody’s guess at how exactly it’s going to come together. “It’s a big experiment for everybody,” says Linney, who actually suggested that she and Nixon rotate the roles and, admittedly, has no idea if it’s actually going to work. “I love that I have no idea.” For both actors, it’s quite possible the greatest thing about it.

“The bizarre thing is trying to find your own Regina and your own Birdie while the actress across from you is also trying to find it,” Nixon says, while adding that the whole concept is “very liberating.”

“I’m sure Cynthia and I are going to play both parts differently, and who
See full article at Entertainment Tonight »

Richard Grant, Jane Curtin Join Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

Richard Grant, Jane Curtin Join Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’
Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin, Dolly Wells, Anna Deavere Smith, and Jennifer Westfeldt have joined the cast of Melissa McCarthy’s dark comedy “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Variety reported in March that McCarthy would star in Fox Searchlight adaptation of Lee Israel’s memoir with “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller attached to helm from a script by Nicole Holofcener. Shooting began Monday in New York City.

Producers are Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas of Archer Gray, partnered with Israel’s friend and longtime confidant David Yarnell. Pamela Hirsch, Jawal Nga, and Bob Balaban are executive producers.

McCarthy will portray Israel, who made her living in the 1970s and ’80s writing profiles of stars such as Katharine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead, cosmetics executive Estee Lauder, and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When she was no longer able to get published because she had fallen out of step with current tastes,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Jane Curtin, Richard E. Grant Joining Melissa McCarthy in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'

Jane Curtin, Richard E. Grant Joining Melissa McCarthy in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'
Jane Curtin and Richard E. Grant are joining Melissa McCarthy in Fox Searchlight's Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Diary of a Teenage Girl helmer Marielle Heller will direct from a script written by Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said) and Jeff Whitty (Avenue Q).

Based on the memoir of the same name by Lee Israel, Can You Ever Forgive Me? follows a best-selling celebrity biographer (McCarthy) who made her living in the 1970s and '80s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead, but has since fallen out of touch.

Dolly Wells, Anna Deavere Smith and Jennifer Westfeldt also have joined the project, which has begun principal...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ Review: Season 1 Loves Zelda Fitzgerald Too Much to Get Real

  • Indiewire
There’s a problem with the first season of “Z: The Beginning of Everything” that is reminiscent of, of all the unexpected things in this world, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” (Please, give this a chance.)

Batman v. Superman” is a notable film for how, scene by scene, it is a movie that actively dislikes its characters — from little touches to big choices, its only source of joy seems to be found in tearing down beloved icons into unrecognizable shells of themselves.

“Z” does not have that problem. In fact, it has the opposite dilemma. The Amazon Prime series, created by Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich, is just a little bit too in love with its leading lady. And while “Bvsdoj’s” antipathy towards its leads sucked all the joy out of the picture, “Z’s” infatuation with Zelda Fitzgerald detracts from its depiction of one of literature’s most fascinating and complicated women.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ Review: Season 1 Loves Zelda Fitzgerald Too Much to Get Real

There’s a problem with the first season of “Z: The Beginning of Everything” that is reminiscent of, of all the unexpected things in this world, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” (Please, give this a chance.)

Batman v. Superman” is a notable film for how, scene by scene, it is a movie that actively dislikes its characters — from little touches to big choices, its only source of joy seems to be found in tearing down beloved icons into unrecognizable shells of themselves.

“Z” does not have that problem. In fact, it has the opposite dilemma. The Amazon Prime series, created by Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich, is just a little bit too in love with its leading lady. And while “Bvsdoj’s” antipathy towards its leads sucked all the joy out of the picture, “Z’s” infatuation with Zelda Fitzgerald detracts from its depiction of one of literature’s most fascinating and complicated women.
See full article at Indiewire Television »

Stranger Than Fiction: The Life of Florence Foster Jenkins

  • PEOPLE.com
Stranger Than Fiction: The Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
Warning: Spoiler alert.

Meryl Streep’s performance in Florence Foster Jenkins is shaping up to be yet another highlight of the incredible actress’s long career. The irony that one of America’s greatest living actresses would wind up playing a woman known as one of its worst singers seems staggering, which is why Jenkins’ incredible life deserves a closer look.

Jenkins was born — appropriately — Narcissa Florence Foster on July 19, 1868, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The city’s population and industry were booming after the discovery of coal in the region; Woolworth’s, Planter’s Peanuts, Bell Telephone and Luzerne National Bank
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

Peter Vaughan obituary

Veteran stage and screen actor who played Harry Grout in Porridge and Maester Aemon in Game of Thrones

Peter Vaughan, who has died aged 93, was one of the most distinctive and menacing of character actors on stage and screen in a career spanning seven decades and ranging from West End comedy to Dickens and Our Friends in the North on television, to movies with Frank Sinatra and Tallulah Bankhead, and encompassing a string of unpleasant authority figures. With his bulky figure, small eyes and prognathous jaw, he usually played the type of character you would not want to bump into on a dark night in a darker alley, even though, in real life, Vaughan was known for his conviviality, kindness to animals and devotion to his family.

For television audiences in the 1970s, he was a faux terrifying and hilarious Mr Big in Ronnie Barker’s prison comedy series Porridge
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ghostbusters Star Melissa McCarthy Circling Lee Israel Movie Can You Ever Forgive Me

Bridesmaid star and soon-to-be-Ghostbuster Melissa McCarthy is closing a deal to headline Can You Ever Forgive Me, a dark comedy based on the memoir of novelist and playwright Lee Israel.

Variety has the scoop, confirming that the adaptation is to be directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) from a script penned by Nicole Holofcener. Production has currently been penciled in to start later this year, lending McCarthy some downtime after donning the Proton Pack in Paul Feig’s blockbuster.

When it comes to Can You Ever Forgive Me, though, the fan-favorite actress will be trading the paranormal for profiles of the biggest names in entertainment. Set against the 1970s, Lee Israel made ends meet by profiling a series of movie stars and other celebrities – chief among them being Katharine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead, along with Estee Lauder.

But Israel’s reign at the top was short-lived,
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Melissa McCarthy to Play Novelist and Literary Forger Lee Israel (Exclusive)

Melissa McCarthy to Play Novelist and Literary Forger Lee Israel (Exclusive)
Melissa McCarthy will star in Fox Searchlight’s adaptation of Lee Israel’s memoir “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” with “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller attached to helm.

The dark comedy will begin shooting early next year. Heller will direct from a script by Nicole Holofcener.

Producers are Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas of Archer Gray, partnered with Israel’s friend and longtime confidant David Yarnell. Jawal Nga executive produces.

McCarthy will portray Israel, who made her living in the 1970s and ’80s writing profiles of stars such as Katharine Hepburn and Tallulah Bankhead, cosmetics executive Estee Lauder, and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When she was no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turned to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack, and began selling letters that she had forged from deceased writers and actors.

When the forgeries started to raise suspicion,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Round-Up: Scooby-doo Dorbz, Damien Behind-the-Scenes Clip, Hammer Films Collection – Volume Two DVD

  • DailyDead
Possibly everyone’s favorite animated sleuths have joined Funko’s Dorbz line. Eight items from Dorbz’s Scooby-Doo Series 1 and 2 are coming this June! Also in this round-up: a behind-the-scenes clip from Damien and details on the Hammer Films Collection – Volume 2 DVD.

Scooby-Doo Dorbz: From Funko: “Dorbz: Scooby-Doo Series 1 (the first three in the gallery)

Zoinks! Scooby-Doo is coming to Dorbz! When there’s a spooky mystery afoot, Shaggy and his pal Scooby-Doo are on the case! Just make sure they don’t split up so they can catch Werewolf in the act!

Coming in June!

Dorbz Ridez: Scooby-Doo – Mystery Machine

Jenkies! Mystery Machine Dorbz Ridez are coming, too!

Coming in June!

Dorbz: Scooby-Doo Series 2 (the last four in the gallery)

Coming this Summer!”

———

Damien: “Watch Glenn Mazzara, Executive Producer, and the rest of the staff talk about the ‘Omen Curse’ that occurred when filming Season 1 of #Damien.

The
See full article at DailyDead »

Close-Up on William Wyler’s "The Little Foxes": Family Drama Down South

  • MUBI
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. The Little Foxes is playing on Mubi in the Us February 15 through March 15, 2016.William Wyler and Bette Davis had a good thing going by the time of The Little Foxes (1941). Wyler had three (of his eventually 12) Academy Award nominations and he had directed the star in two Oscar-worthy performances of her own: Jezebel (1938), for which she won, and The Letter (1940), for which she didn’t. Though it would grow increasingly contentious, their association was nonetheless mutually productive, and while Davis may have been reluctant to take on the role played to great acclaim by Tallulah Bankhead in Lillian Hellman’s stage version of The Little Foxes, the resulting feature film trumped the trepidation. Set in the indistinct though suitably decrepit “Deep South” circa 1900, the backdrop is just vague enough to be regionally collective but just specific enough to be wholly unique.
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Emma Stone is up for Disney's live-action 'Cruella': Why?

  • Hitfix
Emma Stone is up for Disney's live-action 'Cruella': Why?
Disney's next live-action remake of a vault classic -- after Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson -- is Cruella, an origin story of the fabulous, chain-smoking 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil. Betty Lou Gerson voiced Cruella in the 1961 animated version and Glenn Close donned the dalmatian garb for the '96 live-action update and its sequel. But now a new name is in the mix to play Cruella in its new, inevitably splashy incarnation: Emma Stone.  Hmm. Now, I don't know what angle this origin story will take, but here's everything I know about Cruella de Vil: She's a gravel-voiced, middle-aged, character actress role. Emma Stone covers exactly zero of those requirements. And that's fine! I enjoyed Emma Stone in Birdman, Easy A, The Help, and many other movies where she plays a relatable, wittily attitudinal figure. But as Cruella de Vil? Nothing in Stone's career so far indicates
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Blast from the Past: Cotillard Naked and Dead in Hitchcock Photo-Homage

Marion Cotillard 'Psycho' scream. Marion Cotillard in 'Psycho' A few years ago – more exactly, in Feb./March 2008 – Vanity Fair published a series of images honoring Alfred Hitchcock movies made in Hollywood. (His British oeuvre was completely ignored.) The images weren't from the movies themselves; instead, they were somewhat faithful recreations featuring early 21st century stars, including several of that year's Oscar nominees. And that's why you get to see above – and further below – Marion Cotillard recreating the iconic Psycho shower scene. Cotillard took home the Best Actress Oscar at the 2008 ceremony for her performance as Edith Piaf in Olivier Dahan's La Vie en Rose / La môme. Janet Leigh, the original star of Hitchcock's Psycho, was shortlisted for the 1960 Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but lost to another good-girl-gone-bad, Shirley Jones as a sex worker in Richard Brooks' Elmer Gantry. More nudity, less horror Looking at the Marion Cotillard Psycho images,
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