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What did you see this weekend?

1 hour ago

Beauty & the Beast continues to be a cash machine for Disney Corp, already at nearly $700 million worldwide. Power Rangers fared the best of the new releases with a stronger than expected opening. Was that nostalgia driven or just people in the mood for campy schlock? My friends and I headed to the theater after a few drinks because we figured we shouldn't see it sober »

- NATHANIEL R

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Review: "Wilson"

5 hours ago

by Spencer Coile

Daniel Clowes struck gold in 2001 when he wrote the screenpay for Ghost World, an adaptation of his graphic novel of the same name. Telling the story of self-identified outcast Enid (Thora Birch), his first screenplay toyed with themes pertaining to isolation, the dissolution of friendships, and lots and lots of teen angst. It was relatable and altogether melancholic, but importantly-- it all worked. Drawing from his own work (no pun intended), Clowes pulled together some all-too-familiar film tropes, and managed to subvert them in thoughtful and oftentimes amusing ways. After a return to the screen with another adaptation of his own work, Art School Confidential in 2006, Clowes layed low, working primarily on writing/drawing and short films. He's back with Wilson, now in theaters, pairing with The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson, for another foray into the hilariously damaged human spirit »

- Spencer Coile

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New Directors / New Films: "Happiness Academy"

7 hours ago

Have you ever seen a film which mixes documentary with fiction? Hybrid films, films with documentary and fiction parts or at least performed / acted elements have been around for some time. I'm not enough of a documentary expert to know if this is an increasing trend but in the past few years I've seen a few. From my (extremely limited) experience the combo can spark frissons of excitement and thoughtful layers as in Sarah Polley's autobiographical mystery Stories We Tell. The hybrid approach can also be both fascinating and exhausting simultaneously as with Clio Barnard's The Arbor (2010) in which actors lipsynched to recorded interviews from the actual documentary subjects.

At this year's New Directors / New Films festival, which wraps today in NYC, the hybrid technique (genre?) gets another discussable entry via Happiness Academy »

- NATHANIEL R

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RuPaul's Drag Race S9E1 - Oh My Gaga!

21 hours ago

by Chris Feil

It’s here, children! We’ve finally arrived at the premiere of season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race! Not that we should complain about waiting considering we got a bonus All Stars season last fall, but when you’re talking the most joyous show on television enough is never enough.

So it doesn’t please me to say that this season premiere left me begging for more in the worst kind of way. While the episode starts out with the usual high energy and first day of school nerves as we meet every queen entering the workroom, we don’t get much of the queens beyond this introduction. The energy flatlines right around the second commercial break when much hyped presence of guest judge Lady Gaga establishes the challenge: a non-elimination Miss Charisma Uniqueness Nerve & Talent Pageant, each queen presenting a look representing their home city and a Gaga recreation. »

- Chris Feil

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Links: New Musicals, Life Tips, Netflix vs Hollywood

25 March 2017 10:15 AM, PDT

Variety Cher has dropped out of her expected return to acting with Flint, a TV movie about the water crisis in Michigan citing "serious family issues" (sending her good vibes)

Coming Soon Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Channing Tatum will team-up for an R rated jukebox musical called Wingmen about two pilots who crash land in Vegas

Variety Lola Albright film actress of the 1940s and 1950s and know for TV's Peter Gunn has died at 92

NPR there's a way to search IMDb now for movies that are female created or female focused... but it's tricky

Vanity Fair life tips from Shirley Maclaine

/Film Soderbergh's Cinemax series The Knick has been cancelled. :( 

Av Club Wonder Woman pees fire

Interview shares an old interview / photo session of Penélope Cruz from '99

Playbill recaps 'everything we know (so far) about Mary Poppins Returns' but they leave out the most important news that we covered »

- NATHANIEL R

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If today's your birthday, you're golden!

25 March 2017 7:00 AM, PDT

The 90th Academy Awards celebrating the 2017 film year will be held on March 4th, 2018, just 344 days from now. Only two previous ceremonies have been held on March 4th with those Oscars going to The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and Mrs Miniver (1942). Hmmm. Does this mean we'll get a showbiz biopic set during Ww II as Best Picture next season?

Useless Oscar Trivia of the Day!

March 25th, today, shares with March 29th (coming right up) the distinction of being the date on which the most Oscar nights have been held. Both dates have seen five Oscar nights so if you were born on either of those dates please know that your birthday is also a special anniversary for many movies, creatives, and actors and for some of you The Actual special day. Consider...

March 25th Ceremonies

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- NATHANIEL R

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Tweetweek: Fantasy Boyfriends, Favorite Seasons, Fabulous Divas

25 March 2017 4:07 AM, PDT

 

Don't pretend like you wouldn't watch a movie in which Jessica Chastain sets Xavier Dolan up w Sebastian Stan and also Naomi Watts is there pic.twitter.com/0b4rokKPJf

— Ryan McPhee (@rdmcphee) March 21, 2017

You must click through every photo of that tweet. That whole moment in watching celebrities be themselves in real time with each other together as fans is funny heaven. "Yay, social media," which is something we can't always say as sane people. 

Anyway. More after the jump...  »

- NATHANIEL R

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Cate Blanchett gets a new sparring partner, Kristen Wiig

24 March 2017 9:36 AM, PDT

by Murtada

Cate Blanchett always manages to get sizzling chemistry with her female co-stars, whether the story they are in is sapphic or not. She had it with Judi Dench playing the architect of her destruction in Notes on a Scandal (2007). And with Sally Hawkins as her curtseying worse gened adoptive sister in Blue Jasmine (2013). Most famously, she had it with Rooney Mara as the girl flung out of space in Carol (2015). In the same movie she etched a believable and palpable friendship with Sarah Paulson. We assume she’ll do it again with Paulson next year in Ocean’s Eight (and with Sandra Bullock, Rihanna et al).Those set pictures don’t lie. And now we can add Kristen Wiig to the list.

They already make each other laugh

In the adaptation of Maria Semple’s bestselling novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette, to be directed by Richard Linklater, »

- Murtada Elfadl

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Frances McDormand & McDonagh's "Three Billboards..."

23 March 2017 8:28 PM, PDT

Chris here. Provocateur playwright/filmmaker Martin McDonagh has a new movie coming this year, and like some of his plays the title is a mouthful. Get ready for [deep breath] Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, about a woman seeking justice for the local authorities' poor handling of her child's death.

What's most exciting about this round of McDonagh acidity is that the typically male-focused writer-director is giving us a female protagonist. And star Frances McDormand is quite a perfect fit to deliver his tricky balance of dry humor, tragedy, and bitter allegory. Her work looks to be a real showcase. Are you already picturing a bleep-heavy Oscar clip? She's surrounded by a solid ensemble which includes Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and John Hawkes.

It's strange the film has no release date considering we have a full-length trailer, so maybe this one is Cannes bound before awards season? McDonagh won an Oscar »

- Chris Feil

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every guy here'd love to link you, Gaston

23 March 2017 4:40 PM, PDT

Today's Must Read

BuzzFeed good piece by Allison Willmore on the maddening response to absolutely nothing moments proclaimed to be Lgbt "firsts!" in movies. Two parts of the problems she doesn't mention though are 1) the internet demands for constant content incentivize journalists to blow everything out of proportion including super stupid things like "LeFou is gay!" and 2) too many pop culture journalists are operating from a place of zero knowledge about pop culture before they were, like, 12. 

more links after the jump including insightful pieces on Feud and an investigation of Logan's family jewels...

»

- NATHANIEL R

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Joan Crawford, National Puppy Day, Oscar Nights, and More...

23 March 2017 12:00 PM, PDT

Today is both National Puppy Day and the immortal star Joan Crawford's birthday (though the exact date i.e. year is disputed). So here is a photo combining those two wonderful things...

Joan Crawford totally loved dogs. If you do a search for "Joan Crawford puppies" or "Joan Crawford dogs" you will be surprised at how many images come up and from all decades, too, and how relaxed the famously rigid star looks with them in many of the photos »

- NATHANIEL R

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"Fargo" Teases Third Season of Polite Crime, Red Snow, and Twice the Ewan McGregor

23 March 2017 9:01 AM, PDT

by Daniel Crooke

For all of those hunkered snug in the cold and goin’ crazy down by the lake after a year of anticipation over the third season of the FX anthology series Fargo -- inspired, of course, by the Coen Brothers dark comedy of the same name, not to mention a buffet-filled bevy of narrative and thematic homages that span across their entire filmography -- here’s a home baked slice of warm comfort: the official trailer for the long-awaited return has finally been released.

While the idea of adapting the iconic Midwestern crime saga for the small screen may have once seemed to border on the sacrilegious, the first two seasons delivered enough satisfying, respectful riffs on the source material to silence its naysayers while also surprising audiences with its acute yet divergent grasp on the world and wit that made the original film so great. For my money, »

- Daniel Crooke

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I'm With Her: Brie Larson Playing 1st Female Potus Candidate

23 March 2017 7:05 AM, PDT

By Spencer Coile 

Fresh off the heels of an Oscar victory, stone-facing Casey Affleck, and battling Kong, it appears Brie Larson is coming back stronger than ever-- ready to test her political prowess. 

Amazon Studios has obtained rights to Victoria Woodhull, aptly named after the first female to ever run for the U.S. presidency. Larson, not only serving as a producer for the film, will jump into the title role of Victoria. Although very little is known about the upcoming project thus far, below are some initial thoughts and predictions about this latest venture from Larson and company. »

- Spencer Coile

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Interview: Melissa Leo on Playing 'The Most Hated Woman in America'

22 March 2017 12:54 PM, PDT

By Jose Solís 

Few actors can command the screen like Melissa Leo. She has cemented her status as a true scene stealing chameleon in films like The Fighter, Frozen River, Mildred Pierce, and The Big Short. And while she’s mostly regarded as a character, read supporting, actor, she gets a chance to show off her leading lady chops in The Most Hated Woman in America which debuts this week on Netflix. She plays atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair who led a campaign that banned Bible readings in public schools.

Leo infuses the part with heart and courage, so that she becomes a perfect embodiment of the notion that the personal should be political. Director Tommy O’Haver uses Madalyn’s kidnapping and horrific murder, to frame a film that aims to reach everyone’s humanity, regardless of their religious beliefs. Anchored by Leo’s majestic performance, it becomes »

- Jose

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Yes No Maybe So: "My Cousin Rachel"

22 March 2017 10:25 AM, PDT

by Robert Balkovich

The Rachel Weiszenaissance looks to be continuing at full speed after last year's indie hit The Lobster and her good notices for the otherwise middling Light Between the Oceans. We now have the trailer for her latest project, a Victorian era thriller based on a novel by the Og spookmaster Daphne du Maurier called My Cousin Rachel.

There have already been a few film adaptations over the years, but none that star Rachel Weisz, so I'm very excited to see what this latest has to offer.

Let's do a "Yes No Maybe So" after the jump, shall we? »

- Robert Balkovich

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Big Little Lies MVPs: Episode 5 "Once Bitten"

21 March 2017 10:20 PM, PDT

Previously: episode 1 and 2, episode 3 and episode 4. Here's Nathaniel's take on Episode 5

In the fifth episode, we've reached what has to be a boiling point as Jane, Madeline, Celeste and Renata all seem to be coming absolutely unhinged simultaneously. Spoiler alert for the rest of this post: this show is just superb and it's giving us more actressing than we even know what to do with. *tosses roses at television*

Top Ten MVPs of Big Little Lies. Episode 5 "Once Bitten"

10. Madeline's Dream

Bonus points to the show for having a sense of humor about its hardcore annoying refusal to let us know who was murdered. Also any Avenue Q reference is golden.  

09 "Bully Free Zone"

That damn bright yellow & red sign. 

Don't you feel like it's constantly just taunting everyone in the school? At least half of the adults in this show are bullies themselves and everyone seems so helplessly ill »

- NATHANIEL R

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Battle of the Links

21 March 2017 4:09 PM, PDT

Today's Must Read

Vulture has an amazing profile on Jenny Slate which also gives personal insight into her career and life and, more surprisingly, her former relationship with Chris Evans. He comes off sounding so dreamy which is not what you expect in a breakup discussion!

Miscellania

Variety the tennis film Battle of the Sexes gets a Sept 22nd release date. Will Emma Stone be back in the Oscar race or will there be no need for a victory lap?

Coming Soon there's a project being pitched in Hollywood that unites classic fairy tale heroines in one story (like a superhero team but fairy tale princesses) 

Collider interviews the undervalued Michael Peña about CHIPs and he reveals that he still doesn't know if he's in the Ant-Man sequel (which seemed foolish of Marvel since he totally stole that movie)

lots more after the jump...

»

- NATHANIEL R

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Review: Song to Song

21 March 2017 9:33 AM, PDT

By Eric Blume

It’s difficult to review Song to Song, the latest film from Terrence Malick, because based on the standards of cinema (plot, characters, structure, acting, etc.), it’s a pretty terrible movie.  But with this film, Malick continues his journey to discover some sort of new cinematic language and style that has a weird beauty all its own.

The story, such as it is, revolves around three people in the music business (played by Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Ryan Gosling).  They go in and out of relationships with each other and a few other folks (notably Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Bond girl Berenice Marlohe).  Malick gives you no real sense of time, so it’s never 100% clear what happens when exactly.  But there are many, many scenes with those five people running their hands over each others’ bodies while voiceover proclaims banalities about sex and connection. »

- Eric Blume

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Doc Corner: The Confined Spaces of 'Solitary'

21 March 2017 7:38 AM, PDT

by Glenn Dunks

Solitary could have gone in many different directions. Filmed over a year inside the supermax solitary confinement prison of Red Onion, Virginia, all sorts of independent narratives that are weaved throughout could have made for their own captivating feature. There are the guards, disturbed by what they see, and the death of the region’s prime coal mining industry that brought them to this line of work. There are the crimes of the prisoners, most of them violent, some of them not so. And then there is, like Ava DuVernay’s (broader, superior) Oscar-nominated 13th, the system itself that is obviously damaged and flawed at its very core.

It's nice, but also a little frustrating, then that director Kristi Jacobson (known best for 2012’s A Place at the Table) chose something far less sensational by focusing on the concept of nature versus nurture. Nice because that feels rare in film, »

- Glenn Dunks

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Thoughts I Had... "The Dark Tower" Poster

21 March 2017 5:00 AM, PDT

Chris here. With the long (lonnnnnnnnng) road to production, reshuffling of realease dates, and confusing messages on a spin off series, I can't blame you if you've lost track of Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower. The franchise hopeful has tradeed hands from Ron Howard to A Royal Affair's Nikolaj Arcel, and lost a few potential stars along the way. But with a looming summer release, it's about time to start seeing some of the goods (even if those set photos of a leather-clad Idris Elba should have kept this at the top of our minds). At long last here is the first poster, with some thoughts after the jump...

»

- Chris Feil

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