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After reading 20 Things British People Just Can’t Do, it was apparent that an American version of the list was needed. But when the issue was examined, it was determined that it wasn’t so much what Americans couldn’t do; it was more what we wouldn’t give up.
Every nation has something that they think makes them stand out from the rest of the world. Americans have this notion in spades. Some of it is justified, for both good and bad reasons. Some are benign, some are strange, and some make the rest of the world shake their heads in amazement. Some are uniquely American; some have migrated to the rest of the world. They have their basis in material possessions, consumption, media, religion and geopolitics.
And though the list is much longer than what is presented here, there is something about the items presented that every American can lay claim to, »
- Harry Thomas
Romance blooms under the sun and the stars in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight,” a high-spirited bauble that goes down easy thanks to fleet comic pacing, a surfeit of ravishing Cote d’Azur vistas and the genuinely reactive chemistry of stars Colin Firth and Emma Stone. A welcome balm for the blockbuster-addled soul, Allen’s 44th feature finds the director back in the 1920s Gallic mood of 2011’s “Midnight in Paris,” with the star-crossed lovers this time held apart not by time but rather by philosophical inclinations. While the result may not quite equal “Midnight’”s box office bonanza, expect “Magic” to handily corner the upscale adult demo for the remainder of summer, continuing the Woodman’s late-career hot streak.
A childhood magic buff and amateur magician, Allen has incorporated hypnotists, stage illusionists and touches of the supernatural into many films including “Alice,” “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion” and “Scoop, »
- Scott Foundas
ABC had their Television Critics Association presentation on Tuesday, and we were there to get the latest scoop on their new fall TV lineup. Panels for Shonda Rhimes's new Viola Davis show, "How to Get Away With Murder" and the Anthony Anderson comedy "Black-ish" were among the highlights. What were some key takeaways from the network's big day?
1. ABC is "bullish" about Wednesday
So says ABC president Paul Lee, who was particularly enthusiastic about its comedy block that day this fall. "I personally believe 'The Goldbergs' is going to be discovered by a lot more people this year," he noted. There was a lot of love for the '80s-set comedy, which will now air between successes "The Middle" and "Modern Family."
2. There's a push for diversity
Lee also talked about the network's diverse programming."It is a mission statement to reflect America," he explained. "In a way it's »
- Alana Altmann
Matthew Vaughn has become something of a go-to filmmaker for quality comic book movies, having worked on the well-received X-Men: First Class and the adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's offbeat superhero adventure Kick-Ass.
Now he's back with Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on a concept he and Millar hatched together. Millar and Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons have already published the story as a comic book, and now Vaughn is working on the film version, which is less an adaptation than his own imagining of the original idea.
Vaughn has attracted a top cast, including Colin Firth and Mark Strong (who appeared together in a very different take on the spy genre, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as well as Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine and newcomer Taron Egerton.
The film centres around council estate kid Eggsy (Egerton), a young tearaway bailed out of jail by his late father's »
In case you haven't heard, the Television Critics Association is currently in full swing.
Each day different networks trot out the casts of their new upcoming Fall TV pilots, introduce them to a ballroom filled with press, and encourage reporters to launch question after question at them for a average of 45 minutes. It's pretty much like a series' debutante ball—and it is absolutely exhausting for everyone involved.
However, as we all know, some of the most hilarious and random sentences that come out of our mouths happen at our most draining moments. Today we're taking a look at the casts of ABC's newest series—Selfie, How to Get Away with Murder, Black-ish, Forever, Manhattan Love Story and Cristela—and the best lines that came from each panel.
Read on to get »
Girls, “Two Plane Rides”
Written by Lena Dunham
Directed by Lena Dunham
Aired March 23rd, 2014
Do you remember how last season’s Girls run ended? Well this season things culminated in an entirely different tone. This time, there were no grand gestures or fireworks. Season three isn’t quite as dark as season two, but man is the finale rough. If the season two finale frustrated fans because it suggested that Hannah might be too dependent on the man in her life, the season three finale seems intent on underlining that Hannah’s ready to move on, with or without Adam. And she isn’t the only one moving on, but she seems to be the only one moving in the right direction: Hannah gets into the country’s best grad school, Adam gives a truly “bad” performance in his Broadway debut, Marnie finds herself in another destructive relationship, Shosh »
- Kate Kulzick
The most popular poster I’ve posted on my Movie Poster of the Day Tumblr in the past quarter—with over 1,000 likes and reblogs—has been this rarity that popped up at Posteritati this Spring. A British Double Crown (10" shorter than a one sheet) for a 24 minute documentary about the experimental music genius Brian Eno, made in 1973 at the start of his post-Roxy solo career, the poster’s popularity is no doubt due as much to the reverence Eno is held in as to its graphic design. But it is still a terrific poster, making simple yet brilliant use of two color printing and showcasing a multitude of Enos in all his glam rock glory. The text in the corner credits Blue Egg Printing and Design Ltd. and if anyone knows anything more about that company I’d love to hear about it. »
- Adrian Curry
Why Watch? Let’s say you tell your friend that if you ever love a Michael Bay movie, he should just go ahead and kill you. Then, 10 years later, you rave about Bay’s latest (a heartfelt remake of My Fair Lady), and your pal shows up on your doorstep with a gun. He’d only be doing his duty, right? Even more complicated, in a world where time travel exists, what authority do you have to make decisions that will affect your future self? This excellent short film from director Bo Mirosseni and writer Elisha Yaffe (presented by Partizan Films) toys with the more mundane uses of the profoundly powerful tool, proving that it’ll be the personal things (and probably not assassination attempts on Hitler) that will do the most damage. Time Travel Lover is a hilarious — often dispiriting — exercise in having a plan laid out before you that you never asked to see. In »
- Scott Beggs
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.] Show: "Selfie" (ABC) The Pitch: "It's a modern take on 'My Fair Lady.'" "Is there singing?" "No." "Then it's a modern take on 'Pygmalion.'" "Fine. Whatever.] Quick Response: [If I'm being honest, there actually Is a "musical" scene in "Selfie." I guess I don't want to spoil it.] For all of the people I like who are associated with "Selfie," the pilot itself is a grating mess on nearly every level. Emily Kapnek's script relies way, way, way too much on circa-2013 (and circa-2012) social media buzzwords and slang and it will, best case scenario, be a museum piece by 2015. Worse case scenario, it's already a museum piece and viewers who are already judging the show for its title won't last more than five minutes of the main character telling rivals not to be "jelly." And don't worry: I get that Karen Gillan's Eliza is Supposed to be annoying and awful and you're supposed to judge her for the "jelly" stuff and for her repeated references »
- Daniel Fienberg
Presenting... for the first time ever a Smackdown Companion Podcast
A couple of months ago Joe suggested that we add a podcast segment or more conversation somehow to the Smackdown which by necessity has brief capsules from each panelist. And why not? There is always so much more to discuss after you've watched five Oscar-favored films from any given year.
So for this special tryout episode of the podcast (let us know if we should do it again for 1973) Nathaniel welcomes back the actress Melanie Lynskey, the original creator of the Smackdowns Brian Herrera (aka StinkyLulu), and regular podcast voices Joe Reid and Nick Davis. Our conversation ran long so it's in two segments.
Smackdown 1964 - A Companion Conversation Pt. 1
01:00 Melanie on talking acting with other actors and one director's "witchcraft"
05:00 Zorba the Greek and undiagnosed cognitive disorders
11:45 Nick and Nathaniel share personal memories of »
- NATHANIEL R
This month's film and TV non-fiction book choice is Mark Harris' Pictures At A Revolution...
Liking a film is a really subjective business. No top ten lists are the same, and one person's masterpiece is another person's numb posterior. But since 1927 Hollywood has awarded one film the Academy Award for Best Picture. The surprise is not so much that they like to hand out such prizes than that anyone can get seriously fired up over the result. We all know the Oscars don't often get it right, but the reasons why they get it wrong are so varied and interesting that Pictures At A Revolution is a fascinating read. Mark Harris peels back the layers of Hollywood studio tactics and reveals something so messy and frenetic that you wonder how any films get made at all.
In 1967 five films were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. They were The Graduate, »
The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '64 is just 8 days away. So it's time to get your votes in on the nominees that year. Readers, collectively, are the sixth panelists, so grade the nominees (only the ones you've seen) from 1 to 5 hearts. Your votes count toward the smackdown win!
Agnes Moorhead Hush... Hush Sweet Charlotte
Grayson Hall Night of the Iguana
But before we here at Tfe get to that particular metaphorical musical-horror mishmash of films with one of the most senior lineups the Academy ever offered up in this category, let's meet our panelists for this 50th anniversary retrospective competition.
- NATHANIEL R
This week, Christie’s, the world’s largest fine arts auction house, is hosting an inaugural online-only sale of what are billed as Vintage Film Posters, though it is an eclectic collection of old and new. There are plenty of familiar faces, like Reynold Brown’s Attack of the 50Ft. Woman, Saul Bass’s The Man With the Golden Arm, Giorgio Olivetti’s La Dolce Vita, Bob Peak’s My Fair Lady, and Philip Castle’s Clockwork Orange, but what is interesting in terms of the auction market is the inclusion of a number of recent Mondo posters by Tyler Stout, Todd Slater and Laurent Durieux. The auction also includes La Boca’s already-classic, four-year-old set of silkscreen teasers for Black Swan.
The poster that really caught my eye, however, and one I’d never seen before, is this stunning Deco design by one Ram Richman for Jean Grémillon’s »
- Adrian Curry
New York - John Lloyd Young won a Tony Award for bringing Frankie Valli to Broadway in the hit musical "Jersey Boys," but he knew trying to land a role in Clint movie adaptation wouldn't be easy. That being said, he didn't flinch when he was asked to audition. "I took them seriously because i wanted it to happen," Young says. "And also some of the best Hollywood musicals did use the original Broadway stars. I hoped that they would draw from the stage production, because that would be in my favor." Speaking with co-star Vincent Piazza earlier this month, Lloyd also reveals he had some important boosters on his side. Namely, the real life Valli who had been part of the musical's journey from the beginning. "This is also a very unique situation because Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio are executive producers on the project and they are alive, »
- Gregory Ellwood
When Hollywood brings a Broadway show to the bigscreen, the first casualty is usually the stage actors. This dates back to 1964′s “My Fair Lady,” which passed Julie Andrews over for Audrey Hepburn (with Marni Nixon dubbing the singing). Idina Menzel recently revealed that she and Kristin Chenoweth were told they were too old for the upcoming “Wicked” movie. And sometimes, recasting is inevitable: By the time “Chicago” made it in front of cameras after a protracted development process, it was more than 25 years since the original Broadway production. Director Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” suffered a similar fate.
Which is why Clint Eastwood’s decision to keep the stage cast of “Jersey Boys” is an anomaly. John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for originating on Broadway nine years ago, is back as Four Seasons crooner Franki Valli. »
- Ramin Setoodeh and Scott Foundas
Japan’s rarefied geisha culture is kookily crossed with Broadway musicals in “Lady Maiko,” Masayuki Suo’s variation on “My Fair Lady.” Gorgeously appointed and exuberantly choreographed, this crowded ensemble drama is a visual treat that, at well over two hours, needs a romantic spark to give it stronger dramatic momentum. Audiences aware of what a tacky knockoff “Memoirs of a Geisha” was may well appreciate the production’s dedication to authenticity, but it doesn’t entertain on the level of Suo’s “Shall We Dance,” or boast the zany humor of “Maiko Haaaan!!!” Still, Suo’s rep and the fascinating subject matter should ensure a decent run in select Asian markets.
The ancient, masonic world of geishas, sometimes referred to as Hanamachi (Flower Street), is almost synonymous with Kyoto, a city proud of its artistic heritage and exclusion of non-locals. However, the film reveals that since the profession’s heyday, »
- Maggie Lee
It all begins with a freeze frame of a dirt road somewhere in Yorkshire county, lined with trees whose lush foliage converges above in an arch. What could it be if not a portal? The movie itself, meanwhile, has not even started as we watch the opening credits, encased in large old-fashioned frames, slowly fade away—a device consistently favored by Alain Resnais who opened each of his 19 features likewise, holding off the films themselves until the screen no longer contained any visual surplus. The freeze frame comes to life as the camera pans farther down the road; then we find ourselves in a theatrical set.
We have been here before, of course. Resnais' Smoking/No Smoking, also based on a play by British playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, is set in Yorkshire as well. Life of Riley (Aimer, boire et chanter) borrows from the five-hour diptych its theatrical setting, one »
- Boris Nelepo
The Warner Bros. bigscreen adaptation of “Jersey Boys” hosted its New York premiere on Monday night just a few blocks north of the Broadway stage where the Tony-winning musical debuted in 2005. A pre-party at the Angelo Galasso House inside the Plaza Hotel included a crowd of theater groupies (Barbara Walters and Regis Philbin), stars (Alan Cumming and Reeve Carney) and other staples from the music world (Clive Davis).
Director Clint Eastwood, sporting a grizzly beard, introduced the film at the Paris Theatre, explaining he’d never seen the hit play about the Four Seasons until the project came to him. He then attended three different versions of the show. “I ended up here on Broadway seeing it,” Eastwood told the crowd. “You’ll see some of the original players. For the most part we tried to keep all the originals from different companies. It was a great privilege for me »
- Ramin Setoodeh
'Year of the Month' will never have a ring to it. I know this but I love themes. Don't hate me because I'm thematical. This month we're having a 50th anniversary party for 1964... (next month it's 1989's 25th) which is a fancy way of counting down to Monday, June 30th's Supporting Actress Smackdown wherein we'll be looking at performances from Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Chalk Garden, My Fair Lady, The Night of the Iquana and Zorba the Greek.
So get to watching those movies so you can vote in the reader ballot!
But before we get to all that: 1964's vintage in list form (we did this once before for 1983 if you remember) since you always want lists, yes? Let's savor 1964's aged cinematic crop....
Best Movies According To...
- NATHANIEL R
It takes a special kind of nerd to walk through the streets of London obsessively looking at the driver of every taxi in the hopes of spotting Tony from the Up films. That was me on Saturday during a brisk walk through the rain on my way to catch a train to Sheffield for this year’s Doc/Fest. Also in that wet walk: a brief stop at Covent Garden for a feeling of disappointment that it doesn’t look as it does in Lindsay Anderson‘s 1957 short Every Day Except Christmas. Or My Fair Lady – because I’m not just into docs. I also stopped into the original Forbidden Planet to look at Doctor Who toys and almost bought a t-shirt that says “Keep Calm and Don’t Blink.” Again, a special kind of nerd. The last time I was in England was 1995, for an art class trip. In those days, I »
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