15 items from 2014
One of the best Sf series ever deepens its critique of the power of propaganda in ways complicated, intriguingly contradictory, and a little bit horrifying. I’m “biast” (pro): big Sf geek; love the book series; love Jennifer Lawrence (and much of the rest of the cast); crave female-centered stories
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have read the source material (and I love it)
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Don’t tell Hollywood I said this, but chopping the final novel of the Hunger Games trilogy into two films might be the best thing that could have happened to this franchise. I mean, it didn’t work for Harry Potter — the first Deathly Hallows film was terrible — and Peter Jackson is already two-thirds of the way (with the final third almost upon us) toward demonstrating that turning the brief Hobbit book into three »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Nicki Minaj is baiting us again. Having already courted controversy with the ass-baring cover art for her second "Pinkprint" single "Anaconda" and its subsequent music video and Vma rendition, the rapper is now raising the ire of commenters for her provocative lyric video to "Only," which presents Minaj as a Hitler-esque dictator. Created by Jeff Osborne, the animated clip takes a number of cues from the Nazi propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl, with a red-white-and-black "Ym" insignia standing in for the swastika and a statue of Minaj's "Anaconda" pose situated at the top of a building that looks suspiciously similar to the main grandstand that served as the centerpiece of Hilter's infamous Nuremberg rallies. Reaction on social media was swift: hey @Nickiminaj thanks for the blatant nazi imagery in your new video! really great allusion to persecution &genocide pic.twitter.com/prjM58hhMQ — Melissa Morgan (@melissamorgs) November 8, 2014 why did »
- Chris Eggertsen
Margaret here to talk about Hollywood casting directors' collective infatuation with the actors on Game of Thrones. HBO's fantasy epic is a ratings juggernaut and has been Emmy-nominated a hundred times over. Its enormous cast (more series regulars than any other show on television) is getting a lot of attention, and many of them are landing high-profile movie roles. The prestige cable effect, so often noted for its ability to bring movie stars to TV, seems to be working in the other direction for Game of Thrones.
Let's check in on the upcoming projects from our Westerosi friends:
GoT Role: Melisandre, spooky red-headed priestess
Aidan Gillen GoT Role: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, slippery schemer. Recently Booked: Recently greenlit sequel The Maze Runner Chapter II: The Scorch Trials. It's reported that he'll be playing the villain, »
- Margaret de Larios
This story first appeared in the Oct. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are two of the hottest genre shows on TV, but only one seems to be launching its stars onto the big screen. See more 'Game of Thrones': Season 4's Most Buzzed-About Moments Already this fall, four players from HBO's fantasy epic have booked gigs in much-anticipated film projects: Carice van Houten, who plays priestess Melisandre, will portray German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in the Jesse Owens biopic Race. Aiden Gillen will make the jump from his Machiavellian character
- Borys Kit
• Oscar winner William Hurt has joined the ensemble of Race, the Jesse Owens biopic starring Stephan James (When the Game Stands Tall) as the legendary track and field star. Hurt will play the president of the Amateur Athletic Union Jeremiah Mahoney, who led efforts to boycott the 1936 Olympics in Berlin against Hitler. Emmy winner Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers) is directing the production currently filming in Montreal and on location at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. In addition to James, Hurt joins Jeremy Irons as future International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage, Jason Sudeikis as Osu »
- Jake Perlman
• Benjamin Walker will part with his presidential past as the male lead in the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel The Choice. The Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson star will play Travis Parker in the story that spans a decade long love affair in a small coastal town. Bryan Sipe (A Million Miles) wrote the screenplay with no director currently attached. [Deadline] • Rosa Salazar has just joined the cast of another Ya trilogy. The Parenthood actress will play Brenda in the sequel Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, which will once again be directed by Wes Ball and star Dylan O'Brien. »
- Jake Perlman
Defiance manages to surprise Billy this week, even if it's with implausibility. Here's his review of Painted From Memory...
This review contains spoilers.
2.9 Painted From Memory
I’m not sure if I’m happy or really infuriated after watching Painted From Memory. Part of me liked that I’d got it wrong last week when I’d concluded that the masked assailant was Niles, because I’d forgotten about another missing character. But what was transplanted into its place made very little sense at times, and was as close as the show has come to a true shark-jumping moment.
It started well enough, with Kenya trying to fill the narrative holes in what happened to her, and failing miserably. Instinctively Nolan doesn’t like incomplete stories, and it soon becomes apparent that he’s not overreacting.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s inability to stay dead sends poor Stahma into a complete tailspin, »
The history of the New York Review of Books is incisively celebrated and distilled by co-directors Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi in “The 50 Year Argument,” which takes us behind the scenes of editor Robert Silvers’ storied weekly and finds, to its great reassurance, an American cultural Goliath little affected by the tectonic shifts that have reduced so much print media to rubble. Enlivened by new and vintage interviews with Nyrb contributors who recount the stories behind their stories, this sharply etched, admittedly specialized portrait (first shown as a work-in-progress at this year’s Berlin Film Festival) should find its natural home on HBO, where it premieres Oct. 6.
To tell the story of the Nyrb is in many ways to revisit six decades of tumultuous political and cultural affairs — those that the Review was born out of (specifically, the 1963 New York newspaper strike) and those it has reported on with a »
- Scott Foundas
The reemergence of Giorgio Moroder to mainstream prominence over the last year has been one of the great unexpected gifts for music enthusiasts. In the wake of his seemingly inevitable collaboration with dance icons Daft Punk, Moroder has been collaborating, remixing, and working on new material of his own—not to mention DJing live for the first time in his storied career. In the process he has introduced himself to a new generation of fans, rightly receiving his due as an influential producer and sonic innovator. But what has yet to be widely recognized is the thumbprint Moroder has left on modern film composing. His iconic, Oscar-winning scores and songs for many of the biggest films of the late-1970s and ‘80s (Midnight Express, Top Gun) have long since entered the pantheon, but with the recent popularity of nostalgia-fueled films such as Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, Moroder’s influence »
- Jordan Cronk
Divergent, whatever you think of it as a movie (I found it to be your basic, agreeably rousing sensitive-teen-in-Amish-linen-finds-her-inner-tattooed-jock-to-fight-the-power formula dystopian thriller), is, like the young-adult novel it’s based on, a piece of pulp mythology that obviously borrows a lot from The Hunger Games. The heroine who hails from a downtrodden district or, in this case, a faction (Abnegnation) that prizes self-sacrifice; the fascist schemers up top; the whole gym-class-on-steroids feeling of a seemingly normal girl who rises to a series of death-defying physical challenges; and, of course, the sense that the heroine can accomplish all this because, while ordinary on the surface, »
- Owen Gleiberman
The Oscars are coming Sunday, so get ready for controversy. No, not about politics, Woody Allen or even the Oscar results. Every year, one of the show’s most beloved segments, and the one that stirs up the most heated debates is the In Memoriam sequence.
An online petition is requesting that the Oscar segment include Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old Atlanta crew member killed by a train while filming “Midnight Rider.” That petition is touching and heartfelt, and I agree that any worker, in any field, deserves special recognition if he or she died in the line of duty.
But it would be unprecedented to include a crew member whose name is not widely known. Bottom line: Every person shown in the segment will deserve to be there. But not every deserving person Will be there, because time is limited. Academy reps are nearly always mum about who is included. »
- Tim Gray
A suspect package puts DC on lockdown, meaning Frank has to sit and watch Claire's revelations on live TV. But will her evasions stand up to scrutiny?
Spoiler alert: we are recapping House of Cards on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Please do not leave spoilers for future episodes if you have seen further ahead.
Stuart Jeffries' episode three blogpost is here
Is there such a thing as a Machiavellian feminist? One who uses whatever power she has to, say, take down the man who raped her? Even if she has to lie, or at least be economical with the truth, to nail him? What was it Francis Urquhart used to say on the UK version of House of Cards all those years ago? "You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."
In the fourth episode, we were confronted by the personification of this possibility when, during a TV interview, »
- Stuart Jeffries
The daughter of Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, Marlene Owens Rankin, was at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on Thursday to attend the international sales launch of “Race,” the biopic about her father. Variety spoke to her and Stephen Hopkins, the director of the film, whose cast Jeremy Irons and Geoffrey Rush have just joined.
Owens Rankin, sitting yards from the spot where Adolf Hitler watched the 1936 Olympics in which Owens won four gold medals, said the film can deliver an uplifting message to young moviegoers.
The message “is about the human spirit — about its endurance and vulnerability — but also the success you can achieve when you are motivated, and persevere in the face of adversity,” she said. “So, hopefully, kids who are underachieving and who lack hope will be motivated by his life and successes in spite of all he went through.”
The film, which was being introduced to buyers for »
- Leo Barraclough
This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. It's where Fritz Lang premiered Metropolis and where Leni Riefenstahl premiered Triumph of the Will. When it opened in 1915, it was called Filmpalast am Zoo -- because it was located next to the zoo -- then changed to the Ufa Palast and finally Zoo Palast. By any name, though, it's been the center of German cinema for nearly a century. Story: How George Clooney Faked Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' for 'Monuments Men' Allied bombings flattened the theater in 1943, but it was rebuilt in 1955 and became a symbol of
- Scott Roxborough
In his documentaries “My Kid Could Paint That” and “The Tillman Story,” Amir Bar-Lev zeroed in on the difference between the public perception of a scandal and the private truth of the matter — a theme that serves him no less effectively in “Happy Valley,” a gripping inquiry into the revelations of sexual abuse that shocked the U.S. and devastated Penn State’s storied football program. Rather than focusing primarily on Jerry Sandusky’s crimes, the film broadens in scope and complexity to examine the assumptions of an entire community, as well as the football-first culture that allowed evil to flourish in its midst. Distinguished by its measured, analytical approach and revelatory testimony from Sandusky’s adopted and abused son, Matt, this nuanced but quietly excoriating work merits widespread exposure, and could be especially well timed to coincide with the still-ongoing court proceedings against three former university administrators.
The acts »
- Justin Chang
15 items from 2014
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