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Cate Blanchett gets a new sparring partner, Kristen Wiig
14 hours ago
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
- Murtada Elfadl
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
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
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
"Fargo" Teases Third Season of Polite Crime, Red Snow, and Twice the Ewan McGregor
23 March 2017 9:01 AM, PDT
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
I'm With Her: Brie Larson Playing 1st Female Potus Candidate
23 March 2017 7:05 AM, PDT
By Spencer Coile
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
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 »
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
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*
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
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!
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)
lots more after the jump...
- NATHANIEL R
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
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
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
Shakespeare in Love > Saving Private Ryan (your periodic reminder)
21 March 2017 3:00 AM, PDT
On this day in movie history...
1617 Though the exact date of her death is unknown, Pocahontas's funeral was held on this day. She died on a ship with husband John Rolfe (played by Christian Bale in The New World but he wasn't a character in Disney's Pocahontas because that woulda been hella depressing). She was only 21 or 22
1880 "Bronco Billy" Anderson, the original movie cowboy star (he made hundreds of silent shorts) is born
1941 The Sea Wolf starring Edward G Robinson and Ida Lupino is released. Director Michael Curtiz is warming up for his rather incredible peak decade (Captain of the Clouds, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce and more are next)
1949 Slavoj Zizek of The Perverts Guide to Cinema (2006) is born
1956 The 1955 Oscars. Marty becomes both the shortest film to ever win Best Picture and the first indie to do so.
1958 Gary Oldman is born »
- NATHANIEL R
Feud: Bette and Joan. "Mommie Dearest"
20 March 2017 3:15 PM, PDT
Ch. 1 "Pilot"
Ch. 2 "The Other Woman"
Feud's writing team is nothing if not devoted to playing to a single theme per episode. All but a couple of scenes in chapter 3 of Feud are devoted to the notion of mothering (though Victor Buono's more generous notion of "legacy" might have been a smarter move for retroactive potency). Or at least the show spends this hour playing with our pre-conceptions of the mothering skills of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. That's evident in the way it pulls the episode title from the infamous Christina Crawford memoir that damned Joan forever in the public eye as a psychopath and child abuser. In one of the earliest scenes we even get a potent reminder of this memoir as Joan pretends she's not going to send Christina a card congratulating her on the opening of a play until she reads reviews, but then signs the card "Mommie Dearest, »
- NATHANIEL R
Beauty vs Beast: Make News Not War
20 March 2017 12:00 PM, PDT
Jason from Mnpp here - I didn't take my lead on this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" from Nathaniel's "On This Day" post earlier but it's not a surprise that we'd both want to mark the 67th birthday of William Hurt with an acknowledgment of Broadcast News, because I think any sane person will snatch the chance to talk about Broadcast News when it's offered. I did actually contemplate a couple other of Hurt's performances for a minute - maybe Body Heat or The Accidental Tourist? But he's made a career of making the women across from him shine and I knew Kathleen Turner & Geena Davis would dominate those conversations...
... as would Holly Hunter, which is also why we're keeping her out of this even though it's Holly's birthday today too. Sorry, Holly! You'd win way too hard.
But does Hurt stand a chance against Albert Brooks' sweaty sidekick Aaron? »
Review: The Sense of an Ending
20 March 2017 9:30 AM, PDT
by Lynn Lee
Elliptical and enigmatic, The Sense of an Ending has the quality of a mystery, but one that raises more questions than it answers. That is, without a doubt, fully intentional. It’s a film that’s designed to make you go “hmm,” not “aha,” and there’s something admirable about how studiously it avoids going for an obvious narrative or emotional knockout punch. But by the same token, there’s something a little unsatisfying about it, too.
Based on the Booker Prize-winning novella by Julian Barnes, the film centers on an aging Londoner, Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), who, upon being notified of an unexpected legacy, finds himself revisiting his memories of an incident from his youth and eventually coming to grips with the fact that he’s never fully acknowledged or even recognized the truth of what really happened »
- Lynn Lee
The Furniture: Thoroughly Modern Millie
20 March 2017 7:27 AM, PDT
"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...
Thoroughly Modern Millie opened 50 years ago this week, in the spring between San Francisco’s Human Be-In and the Summer of Love. None of 1967’s Best Picture nominees, immortalized as the birth of the New Hollywood in Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution, had yet opened, but there was already something in the air.
Director George Roy Hill capitalized on this countercultural moment with an extravagant show of concentrated nostalgia. Thoroughly Modern Millie leaps back to the Roaring 20s, America’s last moment of liberated sexuality and conspicuous consumption before the Great Depression. Its flamboyant, frenetic ode to the flappers and their world was a big hit, making more than $34 million and landing 10th at the yearly box office. The film was nominated for seven Oscars including Art Direction-Set Decoration.
Yet its portrayal is not without contradictions. »
- Daniel Walber
On this day: Vivien's Oscar, Kevin's Bacon, Carter's Write-Down
20 March 2017 6:00 AM, PDT
On this day in showbiz history
The Story of Miss Lonelyheart from Péter Lichter on Vimeo.
1948 Gentleman's Agreement wins Best Picture at the 1947 Oscars but the enduring statues from that year are surely Edmund Gwenn's Supporting Actor win as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street and the Cinematography and Art Direction wins for the astounding Black Narcissus. What a picture!
- NATHANIEL R