10 items from 2016
Sign of the Cross: The Coen Bros. Revisit the Backlot Desires of Hollywood’s Golden Era
The Coen Bros., back with their first title since 2013’s Cannes darling Inside Llewyn Davis, step back to an even earlier era with Hail, Caesar!, a 1950s set allegory parallelizing movie studio heads with their supernatural equivalent—God. A rather stressful day unfolds on the backlot of Capitol Pictures, where a leading star currently set to film the final, important speech in a Biblical epic is kidnapped by a serene group of Communist writers. Meanwhile, the general cadre of hungry gossip columnists, disgruntled auteurs, and budding celebrities must be continuously juggled and groomed by the studio’s omnipotent figurehead. It’s an ideal environment for the duo, who seem to be consistently recapitulating earlier films and eras, like their rehash of True Grit (2010). There’s something about this latest effort which hints at the »
- Nicholas Bell
The agonies of screenwriting were on full view Thursday night at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, where 11 scribes nominated for WGA Awards took part in the guild’s Beyond Words program.
One of the biggest laughs from the full house came when “Spotlight” writer Josh Singer admitted that he and writer-director Tom McCarthy spent several years going through the Boston Globe’s investigation of pedophile priests.
“We did research for a long time,” Singer said. “Anything to put off writing.”
McCarthy admitted that interviews with the victims of the scandal was a turning point. “The story really came together once we talked with survivors,” he added.
Both “Spotlight” writers were effusive in their praise of the Boston Globe journalists portrayed in the film, noting that editor Martin “Marty” Baron (portrayed by Liev Schreiber) even supplied them with extensive emails to keep the timeline straight. They also credited the initial producers, »
- Dave McNary
Trumbo hits UK cinemas this Friday 5th February. Our friend James Kleinmann got to chat with the legendary actress Helen Mirren for her role in the movie as Hedda Hopper. In the interview we get to hear what surprised her the most about the astonishing true story about Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), a top Hollywood
- David Sztypuljak
If there’s such a thing as poker-faced exuberance, you can feel it in every loving, teasing frame of Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Hail, Caesar!,” an inside-showbiz lark that regards the 1950s studio system with the utmost skepticism even as it becomes an expression of movie love at its purest. Starring Josh Brolin as a hard-working industry “fixer” tasked with keeping big-budget productions on track and wayward stars in line, this gorgeously crafted romp through the backlots and Malibu enclaves of Hollywood’s Golden Age tosses off plenty of eccentric comedy and musical razzle-dazzle before taking on richer, more ruminative dimensions, ultimately landing on the funny-sad question of whether life is but a dream factory. Although it boasts enough marquee names and splashy, crowdpleasing angles to deliver good returns for Universal, this is as strange and singular an offering as anything the Coens have ever done, and as such its more thoughtful, »
- Justin Chang
Dozens of films try to copy the Coens every year, and yet no one ever comes close. They have developed such a delicate, fluid witches’ brew of talent behind and in front of the camera, and a writing style that’s consistently funny and melancholy (often at the same time), that it seems impossible to replicate.
Hail, Caesar! is a film that could only ever be made by the Coens. Just as the brothers themselves love to present dialectics about the duality of triviality and seriousness, so, too, does Hail, Caesar! constantly skate back and forth between feeling slight and monumental.
Its plot, like much of their work, is a tangle of transparent, connected convolutions. Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer for Capitol Pictures in the 1950s. His day to day is problem-solving, and he’s faced with some sizable ones. The studio is in the middle of making »
- Michael Snydel
It's time for the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, where film and TV actors celebrate other film and TV actors, and the big screen winners cross their fingers that this means they'll be getting Oscars, too. Lookin' at you, Leo!
Here is the full list of SAG Awards winners from the Saturday, January 30 show (8 to 10 p.m. on TNT and TBS), along with the nominees they beat for the trophies:
• Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
• Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Here's a vine of Leo running to Kate Winslet after he won. »
- Gina Carbone
2016 SAG Awards Predictions: The Winners Last-minute SAG Awards predictions, as the 2016 SAG Awards ceremony will begin in about half an hour (Jan. 30) at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. So far, there's one clear winner at the ceremony. That's veteran film and (mostly) television actress Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett Show, Annie), who will be handed the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will be handling that particular presentation. As for the SAG Awards' competitive motion picture categories, this year remains murkier than most even though the list of likely winners has been narrowed down in recent weeks – especially following the Golden Globes ceremony and the Oscar nominations announcement. The 'oddities' The easy part: eliminating the “oddities.” No matter how good (or not-so-good) their performances, Johnny Depp in Black Mass, Sarah Silverman in I Smile Back, Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold, Idris Elba »
- Mont. Steve
Sara Hemrajani on Hollywood’s love affair with its Golden Age…
Since there’s no business like show business, it’s unsurprising that one of Hollywood’s favourite topics is itself. The recent wave of award nominations for Trumbo, including a best actor Oscar nod for Bryan Cranston, is fresh evidence of the industry’s fascination with the so-called Golden Age.
In Trumbo, Cranston plays real-life writer Dalton Trumbo who was jailed and blacklisted for his ties to the American Communist Party. Despite the ban, Trumbo and his peers managed to flout the system using pseudonyms and support from eager filmmakers. He went on to write screenplays for classics such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus.
Following swiftly in its steps is Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers’ throwback to the glossy studio pictures of the 1940s. The trailer reveals characters reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Esther Williams, as well as producer »
- Sara Hemrajani
Classic film director Laurence Lorenz (Ralph Fiennes) is having a terrible time in the brand new trailer for the Coen Bros.’ Hollywood comedy Hail, Caesar!
The ensemble comedy features a cast of our favourite actors – George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, and Fiennes – in this Hollywood mystery. Eddie Mannix (Brolin) is a studio fixer, hired to keep Captiol Pictures’ contracted film stars in line and free of tabloid controversy. When leading man Baird Whitlock (Clooney) is kidnapped and held for ransom, it’s up to Mannix to get him back while keeping gossip columnists like Hedda Hopper (Swinton) off the scent of scandal.
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Cohen, Hail, Caesar! teased some back-lot movie magic in the film's first trailer, while this time around, they’re going for the laughs. Actor Alden Ehrenreich goes up against Fiennes in the latest trailer for Hail, »
- Rachel West
A screenwriter's career comes to a crushing end when he is blacklisted for his political beliefs.
The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. Trumbo (directed by Jay Roach) tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger. »
10 items from 2016
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