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Thoughts I Had... While Looking at Posters for Three New Musicals

16 September 2014 7:30 PM, PDT

You know how this works. Thoughts as they come to me without self censorship to speed up the blogging... 

Musical No. 1 Into The Woods

• This is how I look in the morning when I accidentally fall asleep with a wig on

• "Be careful what you wish for" - they pay people to write these taglines you know but why not save money on the budget and just use song lyrics. It doesn't get much better than Sondheim lyrics. Wouldn't "Careful the tale you tell, that is the spell..." be more intriguing / and delightfully faithful.  Say what you will about Les Miserables (2012) -- and you have -- but one of the best things about its very successful campaign ($441 million plus worldwide) is that they just used song titles for their character posters

• "Be Careful what you wish for..." as Meryl climbs out of the poster at you, also adds an unfortunate meta layer. »


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Lesbian Request Accepted

16 September 2014 5:00 PM, PDT

Manuel here to share a rather beautiful coming out story from the Orange is the New Black set that has been spanning salacious headlines for the past twenty-four hours.

The short version: Lauren Morelli, a writer on the hit Netflix series has come out as a lesbian, and is now dating Samira Wiley (Poussey on the show, because, I mean, wouldn't you?)

The longer version: Morelli, who had married her longtime boyfriend months before starting work on Orange's first season, found, in writing Piper and Alex's relationship, "a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like." It was in working on the show that she came to terms with her sexuality and is no happily dating Wiley. What I love about these news is that in true Orange fashion, it comes armed with a fascinating take on sexuality and the power of artistic expression. »

- Manuel Betancourt

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Review: The Guest

16 September 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Hey, folks. Michael Cusumano here to give some love to one of the under-the-radar gems of 2014.

Watching Adam Wingard’s The Guest lets the viewer experience what it would be like to fish an unexpected masterwork out of a bargain bin full of trashy VHS horror movies. The film is a superior example of what Rodriguez and Tarantino attempted with Grindhouse, at once a glorious homage to the horror schlock of the late 70’s and 80’s and a skillful subversion of the same. Wingard’s movie walks this tricky tonal tightrope with swagger, oozing stylistic flash and scored with a soundtrack of pseudo-80's synth you will want to make out with. I think it’s safe to say The Guest is going to achieve cult status pretty much the instant the light from the projector hits movie screens.

The plot could be easily summarized as Bourne meets Halloween, but »

- Michael C.

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An Evening With Patty! (Also "Maze Runner," Something Something?)

16 September 2014 11:00 AM, PDT

Patty Clarkson last night in NYCLast night I attended Teen Vogue's Maze Runner screening and though I'll be writing it up for my gig at Towleroad later this week, I must share with you, my devout fellow actressexuals and the only ones who will understand, that I made the night all about Patricia Clarkson.

I didn't even realize she was in the movie until she was there at the reception and I was powerless to stop myself from beelining straight toward her while the other guests of the studio and fans (who presumably won a contest or something?) spent the evening squealing about Dylan O'Brien who plays "Xander" excuse me... "Stiles" on Teen Wolf, the only non-supernatural teen on that very popular show, now officially run by dadaists. (Yes, I still watch it but it doesn't make a lick of sense anymore... not just from episode to episode but within »


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Amir Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Tiff

16 September 2014 8:10 AM, PDT

Amir here, looking back at the Toronto Film Festival that recently wrapped up.

"Girlhood," superior to Boyhood and one of the best of Tiff 14

You may have noticed that after a few years of covering the festival to various degrees for The Film Experience, I was completely absent from this space for the past ten days, mostly because of a personal decision to enjoy the films without sweating over writing. Tiff is a big festival, maybe the most frantic and hectic in the world, with more choices than one can physically experience over ten days. Nathaniel and I shared so few films from the program’s sprawling lineup, we could have each written about every single thing we saw and you’d never know we attended the same festival. It’s this overwhelming scale that made me want to take a break from reporting, and yet, I feel unsure about »

- Amir S.

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Curio: Actorly Outerwear

16 September 2014 6:29 AM, PDT

Alexa here.  Sweater and jacket weather is upon us, that brief time of year where I can pretend to be strolling through the Upper West Side autumns of Woody Allen, or imagine myself on the golden Central Park stroll of Harry and Sally. (My actual fall look is a bit more Julianne in Still Alice, but we can't all be slaves to fashion.) As I drag my wool and leather out of mothballs today, I thought I'd share some outerwear creations for men, inspired by some signature roles of the actors who wore them.  


- Alexa

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Thoughts I Had...While Admiring the Beauty of Brangelina in "By the Sea"

15 September 2014 8:38 PM, PDT

abstew here with some random thoughts on the just released new stills from the newest directorial effort of Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, By the Sea. EW received the exclusive pics (hence the magazine's watermark on the photos) and a mini-interview with the writer/director/producer and star that pairs her up on screen with new husband Brad Pitt (their first on-screen partnering since the film that brought them together and launched a million tabloid magazine covers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Set in the 1970's, Jolie stars as a former ballet dancer travelling France with her American husband (that would be Pitt, naturally). Their marriage is beginning to show signs of strain and they find themselves drawn to the inhabitants of a small costal town on their journeys...and comedy ensues! (But probably not):

Damn. I feel like they just announced this film was in the works and we already »

- abstew

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Beauty vs Beast: American Beauty vs American Beast

15 September 2014 1:25 PM, PDT

Ja from Mnpp here - it's that "Beauty vs Beast" time again! Over the past few months a lot's been written about the wonderful movie year that was 1999 now that we're a solid fifteen years away from it (Nathaniel touched upon this back in July) but seeing as how today, September 15th, marks the exact anniversary of the release of the film that would roll on to win that's years Best Picture, I figure it's time to pit some angry suburbanites against each other.

Yup, American Beauty turns 15 today. The dust on everybody's Oscars - Kevin's, Sam's, Annet... oh wait, nevermind (sorry Hilary Swank made me do it) - is fifteen years thick. (Of course if Annette had won that Oscar she'd have never let the dust get that thick - she'd strip down to her slip and scrub scrub scrub that sucker.) And all that built-up time, well it »

- JA

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Open Thread. What did I miss?

15 September 2014 11:00 AM, PDT

The Leftovers just gets better and better. how phenomenal is Ann Dowd any way?It occurred to me yesterday while making an exceedingly poor attempt to fully recuperate from Tiff madness (I should have been resting my strained eyeballs but instead I was emptying the DVR) that I had missed two whole weeks of regular news. I joked about this on twitter but I'm 150% sure that I missed something I'd actually like to have known about!

It's easy to miss things, even if you're fully immersed in the industry. (An example: I was talking to Felicity Jones at that Theory of Everything party about her scenes with Charlie Cox, who is so sweetly crush-worthy in the movie, and she somehow hadn't heard that he was the new Daredevil for Netflix!)

What movie things, besides Tiff and the standard Oscar buzz, have been on your mind these past couple of weeks? »


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Back to School with, um, Back to School

15 September 2014 9:31 AM, PDT

Andrew here with the late and last back to school entry, which makes sense because the 1986 mega-hit Back to School is all about heading back to school late.

Those first few back at school are always a hassle for students, sure. But, they’re probably not that simple for the educators, either. Think about it. It’s your first day teaching a new class of students. How do you make a great first impression so that they’re interested in your class, not just for the first day, but for the rest of the semester?               

With that in mind, watching both the students and lecturers at college navigate those first classes in Back to School become even more interesting. Sixty year old Thornton Melon heads back to university as a show of solidarity to prevent his disillusioned son from dropping out. He’s a virtual fish out of water adapting »

- Andrew Kendall

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Box Office Report - No Good Dolphin Tale

15 September 2014 7:00 AM, PDT

Margaret here, back to report on another quiet weekend at the box office. Powered by the considerable force of charisma that Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson supply, home-invasion thriller No Good Deed topped the box office with close to 25 million. In second place is the family film Dolphin Tale 2, which took in decent dollars despite an aggressively bland marketing campaign and the fact that the first one was barely a hit. Guardians of the Galaxy dropped only 22% to third place, and is now the first movie since Frozen to pass $300 million domestically. The Year of Chris Pratt continues.

Weekend Box Office

01 No Good Deed $24.5 *new*

02 Dolphin Tale 2 $16.6 *new*

03 Guardians Of The Galaxy $8.0 (cum. $305.9)  Review

04 ...Ninja Turtles $4.8 (cum. $181.0) remember the animated one?

05 Let's Be Cops $4.3 (cum. $72.9)

06 The Drop $4.2 *new*

The stealth success story here is Let's Be Cops, which, despite abysmal reviews and release in one of the »

- Margaret de Larios

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Tiff: "Still Alice," or Adjust Your Best Actress Charts

14 September 2014 7:00 PM, PDT

The final Tiff feature review. Whew, 25 films screened and written up. And all by closing night! Please give me a round of applause in the comments. I've never been this successful at managing a festival and comments are the only way I know you're appreciating it.

When we first meet Dr Alice Howland in this fine film adapated from the bestseller by Lisa Genova, she is celebrating her 50th birthday. She's happily married to Dr. John Howland (Alec Baldwin) with three grown children whom she adores though she isn't exactly a perfect mother or wife, at least as defined by your typical movie woman, in which case she'd be inordinately obsessed with her husband and children's particulars. In fact, she almost entirely defines herself by her own career and skills (imagine that!) as a respected linguistics professor.  She values articulate communication and higher education and maybe she isn't super imaginative about other forms of expression. »


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