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1-20 of 54 items from 2017   « Prev | Next »


‘Claws’ Star Carrie Preston on Playing a Con Artist and ‘Gunning For’ a Lead Role

21 hours ago | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Carrie Preston has been playing twisted Southern belles all her life, but as Polly in TNT’s “Claws,” she gets to try something a little different: a fabulist ex-con with an indomitable attitude and a killer manicure. Preston has long been a scene-stealer, in everything from rom-com “My Best Friend’s Wedding” to the vampire soap “True Blood” and legal procedural “The Good Wife.”

Now, as Polly, she’s part of a crew of five women who are also involved with the local West Florida mafia. “That alone was intriguing enough to get me to read the script,” she tells Variety. Her character is a compulsive liar who enjoys her fictional histories more than her depressing real one. But as Preston learned when discovered more about “Claws’” “insane words and incredible characters,” she learned that the story of what really happens to Polly — a story slowly unfolding in “Claws” — is even more bonkers than the stories she »

- Sonia Saraiya

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i've got good news. that link you like is going to come back in style.

23 June 2017 5:51 AM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

• Guardian Great interview with Holly Hunter about The Big Sick and her career. (People are already mentioning "Oscar nom!" in regards to her supporting work as Zoe Kazan's mother in the romantic comedy)

• Pajiba on what the new Defenders posters might remind you of

• Playbill Adorable John Benjamin Hickey, fresh off the revival of Six Degrees of Separation, thinks there should be a fine for people who leave their cel phones on in theaters. Agreed! 

• Screen Crush picks the 25 best Lgbt films of the past 25 years. Happy to see Pariah and Bound mixed in with the usual titles like Brokeback Mountain and such. And the past few years have been so good for Lgbt cinema. I mean: Carol, The Handmaiden, Moonlight, Tangerine. #Blessed

• Esquire Fun article by Tyler Coates on how he finally learned to love RuPaul's Drag Race which he had avoided for years and even bad-mouthed in print

• Theater Mania you don't see this often but there's an actual age restriction on the Broadway adaptation of George Orwell's "1984". No one under 13 will be admitted due to its intensity. The show stars Tom Sturridge, Reed Birney, Olivia Wilde, and Tfe fav Cara Seymour (who previously did that lovely guest spot for us). I'm seeing it soon so will report back.

• IndieWire has issues with the "orientalism" of the new Twin Peaks. Add this to the onling Sofia Coppola controversy and... well... People I don't know what to do with all the outrage anymore at everything. There's got to be a line where, as an adult, you're just okay with what you're seeing and discarding the parts that irk you, or filing them under "I don't know about that but whatever" if they're not harmfully intended. Artists will always have their own peculiar obsessions and they'll always draw from a wide variety of influences (at least the good ones will) to craft their own stories and nobody really owns history; pop culture and the arts are giant beautiful melting pots of ideas and aesthetics from all over the world. Oh and also the Laura Dern hairstyle is not proprietarily Asian as the article seems to imply. I know this because I was obsessed with silent film star Louise Brooks as a teenager (Pandora's Box & Diary of a Lost Girl 4ever!). It was originally called the 'Castle Bob,' because Irene Castle (a famous NY dancer) debuted the then-shocking look in 1915. It was a very controversial look but became a sensation in the 1920s with flappers and silent film stars. Hollywood's first popular Asian American actress Anna May Wong, who the article references as an influence on Dern's look, actually had to get her hair cut like that because it was so popular.

• This is Not Porn great photo of Oscar winner Kim Hunter in makeup chair on The Planet of the Apes (1968)

Hilarious Reads and I Personally Needed the Laughs. You?

• The New Yorker "Tennessee Williams with Air Conditioning"... *fans self* I was cackling so loud by the end of this. Best article in forever.

• McSweeneys "11 Ways That I, a White Man, Am Not Privileged" Oops. Hee!

• Buzzfeed "25 Gay Pride signs that will make you laugh harder than you should" - so many of these are so wonderful I just want to hug all gay people for being funny and able to spell

• McSweeneys "An Oral History of Quentin Tarantino as Told to Me By Men I've Dated" 

What places are delivering right now? So, in the early ’90s, right around when Pulp Fiction came out, Quentin Tarantino and Mira Sorvino were dating. I always thought Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion was a dumb chick flick, but I caught part of it on cable the other day and there was an ad for Red Apple cigarettes in the background of one of the shots! Do you know about Red Apple cigarettes? »

- NATHANIEL R

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More Gay Stars and Directors and Screenwriters on TCM: From psychos and psychiatrists to surfers and stage mamas

22 June 2017 6:51 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

On the day a U.S. appeals court lifted an injunction that blocked a Mississippi “religious freedom” law – i.e., giving Christian extremists the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, etc. – not to mention the publication of a Republican-backed health care bill targeting the poor, the sick, the elderly, and those with “pre-existing conditions” – which would include HIV-infected people, a large chunk of whom are gay and bisexual men, so the wealthy in the U.S. can get a massive tax cut, Turner Classic Movies' 2017 Gay Pride or Lgbt Month celebration continues (into tomorrow morning, Thursday & Friday, June 22–23) with the presentation of movies by or featuring an eclectic – though seemingly all male – group: Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Tab Hunter, Dirk Bogarde, John Schlesinger, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. After all, one assumes that, rumors or no, the presence of Mercedes McCambridge in one »

- Andre Soares

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

20 June 2017 2:01 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

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. »

- Women and Hollywood

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Sofia Coppola On Female Sexuality In ‘The Beguiled’ And Why She Hopes Gay Men Find Colin Farrell Sexy

19 June 2017 8:56 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

On Sofia Coppola’s first morning in Provincetown, all she wanted was a lobster roll. “I’ve got to get a lobster roll while I’m here,” she said, sitting on the porch of the Land’s End Inn, overlooking the town that Tennessee Williams called “the edge of the earth.” It was her first time in Cape Cod’s premier gay travel destination, and she was there at the behest of John Waters, who would present her with the Provincetown International Film Festival’s Filmmaker on the Edge Award later that night. “I just got here last night in the rain and the darkness. It’s so pretty,” she said.

Read More: ‘The Beguiled’ Review: Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst Subvert Male Fantasies in Sofia Coppola’s Sensational Southern Potboiler

Coppola made history earlier this year when she won the coveted best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, »

- Jude Dry

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‘Claws’ Showrunner Janine Sherman Barrois on Creating ‘Florida Noir’

15 June 2017 1:30 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

TNT’s new show “Claws,” which debuted June 11, is striking for just how different it is. The show follows four women in Manatee County, Fla., who launder money for a criminal outfit through their slightly run-down but very on-point nail salon. The show is led by Niecy Nash, who plays Desna, an ambitious woman who discovers that trying to make things better for herself and her girls is going to require a lot more criminal activity than she thought. It’s rare to situate a show in a particularly unglamorous corner of Florida, and it’s especially rare to head it up with a crew of mature women. But that’s “Claws” — a show full of such idiosyncratic characters that their quirks alone drive the show’s slightly bloody, slightly silly plot.

Showrunner Janine Sherman Barrois, who was an executive producer on “Criminal Minds” and “ER,” had to learn the basics of nail salons, “pill »

- Sonia Saraiya

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John Heyman, Distinguished Financier and Producer, Dies at 84

9 June 2017 4:44 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Film producer and financier John Heyman, who founded influential British agency International Artists and the World Group Companies, died Friday in New York, his family told Variety via statement. He was 84.

John Heyman passed away in his sleep today, Friday the 9th of June,” the statement read.

His son, David Heyman, is the producer of the Harry Potter films, among many others.

Heyman’s World Film Sales pioneered the foreign pre-sales of films on a territory by territory basis.

John Heyman produced films including “The Go-Between” (1971), family sci-fi film “D.A.R.Y.L.” (1985) and “The Jesus Film” (1979). He was also an uncredited executive producer on David Lean’s 1984 E.M. Forster adaptation “A Passage to India.”

Over the course of his career he arranged financing of more than $3 billion to co-finance films including “Awakenings” and “The Odessa File” (at Columbia), “Edward Scissorhands,” “Home Alone” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Fox), “Victor/Victoria” and »

- Carmel Dagan

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9 Thoughts on Cannes 2017

27 May 2017 11:31 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Cannes Film Festival played host to some good movies this year (there is never a year when it doesn’t), yet throughout the 12-day event, there has been a pervasive feeling, shared by critics and distributors and publicists and audiences alike, that the festival’s been having a soft year, that the magic was tamped down. It had something do with the lack of a universally agreed upon home run, like “Toni Erdmann” or “Amour” or “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” or “Breaking the Waves.” (There were a handful of doubles and triples, but more disputes than not about all of them.) It had something to do with the new security system (long, slow lines to get through metal detectors), which freighted the simple act of walking into a movie with a touch of that airport depression. For all that, Cannes is still Cannes: the most momentous film festival in the world. »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Beguiled’

24 May 2017 4:19 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Don Siegel’s 1971 Civil War drama “The Beguiled,” starring Clint Eastwood as a wounded Union soldier hiding out at a girls’ boarding school in rural Mississippi, is a quintessential film of the early ’70s — and by that, I don’t mean it’s any sort of masterpiece. Far from it. It’s a crudely lit piece of baroque Gothic exploitation, “gripping” yet overwrought, and it basically has the plot of a porn film. Eastwood’s character falls into one bed after another, and he receives a shockingly cruel punishment when Geraldine Page, as the turned-on but repressed headmistress, makes the vengeful decision to amputate his injured leg for dubious medical reasons. “The Beguiled” is like a mediocre Tennessee Williams play staged by Sam Peckinpah as a third-wave-feminist horror film. Yet there’s no denying it’s a picture of its time.

So why would Sofia Coppola want to remake it? »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Stage Door: The Pulitzer winning "Sweat"

17 May 2017 1:02 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Stage Door bringing you intermittent theater reviews when we manage to get there. Here's Nathaniel R

Awards have a way of hyping certain creations, especially the modest kind, to a point where disappointment is an obvious risk. The gifted playwright Lynn Nottage is only 52 but Sweat is already her second Pulitzer winner for Drama (the first was for Ruined). This places her in the rather astonishing company of prolific geniuses Tennessee Williams and August Wilson, and just one prize away from Edward Albee (!) and marks her as the most awarded living playwright and the most awarded female playwright, living or dead. As a result I spent the first act of Sweat wondering what the fuss was about. The Fuss does not identify itself in the second act but by then you can meet the play halfway with its likeable flawed characters and appreciate Nottage's earnest thematic thrust as the play »

- NATHANIEL R

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Variety Critics Share Their Cannes Cinematic Wish Lists

16 May 2017 10:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Variety‘s chief film critics Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman look ahead at the Cannes festival lineup and tell us what they really want to see when the festival kicks off May 17.

Peter Debruge’s Picks

The Beguiled

It’s not like the world was asking for a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood classic, based on the Thomas Cullinan novel about a wounded Union soldier who bewitches an entire boarding school of lonely Confederate ladies — although now that it exists, consider me intrigued. Certainly, we can expect Sofia Coppola to repair the gender balance, which is the most backwards thing about director Don Siegel’s otherwise intoxicating testosterone-fueled fantasy.

The Florida Project

It’s about time Cannes took note of one of America’s most exciting indie voices, inviting “Tangerine” director Sean Baker into the fold. Apart from a general fascination with strange contemporary subcultures, and a capacity to translate »

- Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman

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John Ostrander: Suicide Squad Tpb 6 — Control

14 May 2017 5:00 AM, PDT | Comicmix.com | See recent Comicmix news »

This week we wind up our discussion about the 6th volume of DC’s reprint of my (and Kim Yale’s) run on the Suicide Squad. We’ll be discussing the final story in the book; it was issues 48 and 49 and featured Oracle, a.k.a Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl crippled by an attack from the Joker. She then re-made herself into the go-to information broker in the Dcu. Well, Kim and I re-made her but you get the idea.

This story brings back another character from the Squad, Simon Lagrieve who had been the Squad’s shrink. He and Waller had not parted well and now he was the head of the Institute for Metahuman Studies (the Imhs). La Grieve was doing Waller a favor in treating two members of the Squad who were hurt in the previous story and in return, had a favor to ask of her. »

- John Ostrander

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Drive-In Dust Offs: Eaten Alive (1976)

29 April 2017 11:13 AM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

For me, the most interesting thing about horror maestro Tobe Hooper’s storied career is he takes chances. He always swings big; from his landmark second feature The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), to Lifeforce (1985), to even The Mangler (1995), he pushes the genre into the absurd through concept and execution, audiences be damned. It’s an admirable trait in a filmmaker, and one that’s on full display with Eaten Alive (1976), probably his most bizarre film to date. (Which is saying a lot.)

After a limited stateside release in October of ’76, EA was given a wide release in May of ’77 by Virgo International Pictures to theatres and drive-ins across the land. The start of the ever undulating arc of Hooper’s career, it was met with a resounding “Whaaaat?” by the public and critics alike. This was not the follow up to the cultural explosion that was Chainsaw people were expecting. And to be honest, »

- Scott Drebit

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‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ Broadway Review: Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper Revisit a Troubled Marriage

27 April 2017 6:00 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

The highest praise you can give playwright Lucas Hnath is that he should now write a sequel to “A Streetcar Named Desire.” He’s up to the task, as evidenced by his arresting new comedy, “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” which opened Wednesday at the Golden Theatre. An actress once asked Tennessee Williams what happened to Blanche du Bois. Williams replied that, after a brief stint in the sanitarium, she was doing fine and had opened a little shop. He didn’t specify if Blanche was selling hats or flowers. Hnath isn’t Henrik Ibsen, so perhaps the Norwegian dramatist would disagree with what. »

- Robert Hofler

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Jonathan Demme: Where to Stream His Finest Films

26 April 2017 2:03 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Jonathan Demme has passed away at age 73, leaving behind a legacy of amazing films. Thanks to modern technology, you can now host your own Demme film festival by streaming many of his biggest hits. Check out where to stream the cream of the crop below.

Read More: Jonathan Demme Remembered: Barry Jenkins, Ron Howard, Edgar Wright & More Mourn On Twitter

Netflix:

*”The Manchurian Candidate” (2004) — Watch it Here

*”Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids” (2016) — Watch it Here

Amazon Prime Video:

*”Who Am I This Time?” (from “PBS’ American Playhouse”) (1982) — Watch it Here

FilmStruck:

*”A Master Builder” (2014) — Watch it Here

Amazon Video Rental:

*”Citizen’s Band” (1977) — Rent it Here

*”Stop Making Sense” (1984) — Rent it Here

*”Swing Shift” (1984) — Rent it Here

*”Married To The Mob” (1988) — Rent it Here

*”The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) — Rent it Here

*”Philadelphia” (1993) — Rent it Here

*”Beloved” (1998) — Rent it Here

*”Storefront Hitchcock” (1998) — Rent it Here

*”The Truth About Charlie »

- William Earl

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From Coffee Shop Barista to Hollywood Stardom: Unforgettable’s Bad Boy Shares His Journey to Stardom

22 April 2017 2:28 PM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Simon Kassianides was ready for a change.

The University of Edinburgh graduate had been planning on a career in finance, but when that didn’t feel fulfilling to him the Brit decided to open an organic, fair-trade coffee shop.

“I had the shop for about a year and a half, a producer would come in and we would talk about movies,” says Kassianides. “One day he just said, ‘Why don’t you come make coffee on set?’ ”

From there, Kassianides — whose parents are Greek — began working as an office and production assistant.

“While doing that I was spotted,” he says. »

- Patrick Gomez

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Summer And Smoke (1961) Screening May 5th as Part of ‘Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis’

20 April 2017 7:24 PM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

“The tables have turned, yes, the tables have turned with a vengeance! You’ve come around to my old way of thinking and I to yours like two people exchanging a call on each other at the same time, and each one finding the other one gone out, the door locked against him and no one to answer the bell!”

The 1961 classic Summer And Smoke, based on the Tennessee Williams play and starring Geraldine Page and Lawrence Harvey screens in a continuous loop Friday, May 5 in the Public Media Commons in Grand Center in St. Louis as part of this year’s Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis. This is a free screening (actually, continuous loop of screenings). Geraldine Page’s daughter and actress, Angelica Page, will be in town for the festival and part of a dramatic reading of ‘ensemble 2.0’ , a play based on Francesca Williams’s collection of family letters. »

- Tom Stockman

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Wish You Were Linked

18 April 2017 3:30 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Pajiba on the staggering popularity of Adam Sandler movies on Netflix

EW super cute unseen photos from the production of La La Land (it's on DVD very soon)

THR a Richard Gere profile on the new indie phase of his career and why he isn't in the big studio pictures anymore

i09 a tour of Marvel Studios with peeks at all six movies in various stages of production

The Guardian on the making of the wonderful British comedy Wish You Were Here (1987) for its 30th anniversary. God, Emily Lloyd was sensational in that. Remember her? The '87 Oscar Actress lineup was special but I still missed her there.

Tracking Board Bill Condon who did the James Whale biopic Gods and Monsters is in talks to direct Universal's remake of Whale's Bride of Frankenstein. Shouldn't he feel queasy about this as a fan? 

Awards Daily on the TV Drama Series Actress race. »

- NATHANIEL R

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‘Gently Down the Stream’ Theater Review: Harvey Fierstein Throws a Pity Party

5 April 2017 5:00 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Harvey Fierstein plays the Zelig of the gay world in Martin Sherman’s new play, “Gently Down the Stream,” which opened Wednesday at Off Broadway’s Public Theater. His character, a cabaret pianist named Beauregard, appears to have been at every significant Lgbtqa happening in the last 60 years. Along the way he bumped into (or drops the names of) Larry Kramer, Truman Capote, James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, Mabel Mercer (he was her pianist for many years) and a few other gay icons whose tales he tells. These anecdotes don’t come easily. No, Beauregard refuses to reveal his tortured gay past at just. »

- Robert Hofler

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Wheel of Fortune Contestant Seeks Redemption on Ellen After Viral ‘Naked’ Fail

5 April 2017 2:38 PM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

 A version of this article originally appeared on EW.com.

Sometimes it pays to go viral. While Kevin Haas’ embarrassing moment on Wheel of Fortune didn’t earn him the recognition he probably wanted, it did land him an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he redeemed himself and won $5,000 in the process.

Haas went viral when he appeared on Wheel of Fortune in March and failed to guess the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire with just one missing letter. “I chose one of the two options in the English dictionary and I chose ‘naked,’” he told Ellen DeGeneres. »

- Nick Romano

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