7 items from 2016
Yesterday afternoon, the ranks of Oscar voters grew substantially, with some welcome diversity added in for good measure. Yes, the Academy sent out invitations for new membership about 24 hours ago, with 683 names getting the coveted tap on the proverbial shoulder. Again, what made it so interesting to note is that AMPAS seemed to actively seek out women, minorities, and younger artists, hoping to make the demographics of the Academy slightly less centered on older white males. It won’t suddenly change the makeup of the Oscar nominations or upend how the Academy Awards go down next year, but it’s a slow step in the right direction, and that’s worth applauding for sure. As you can see below, in addition to basically all of last year’s Oscar winners, the new members are a diverse slate. Among the names you’ll see in the acting branch now are John Boyega, »
- Joey Magidson
Chicago – The contemplation of beauty gets a little more truth in a new film by Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”) entitled “The Neon Demon.” It features Elle Fanning as Jesse, a naive girl who wants to break into the world of modeling, and does so in an unexpected way. The symbolic film has both strange drama and touches of horror.
Director Nicholas Winding Refn has been a known cinema force since his breakthrough with “Drive” in 2011. The Danish born filmmaker began his career in his native Denmark with the film (and subsequent trilogy) “Pusher” (1996). He built his reputation film-by-film, as the John Turturro starring “Fear X” (2003) next got him noticed. The Sundance Film Festival gave praise to “Bronson” (2008), nominating the film for the Grand Jury Prize. The breakthrough film “Drive” came three years later, and garnered two Oscar nominations. “The Neon Demon” is Refn’s tenth feature film.
Elle Fanning and »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Lennart Bjorck, who worked for Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures and formed his own company, Bjorck Film Corp., representing international distributors, died March 28 in Morro Bay, Calif. He was 91.
After decades working in international film distribution for various companies, Bjorck moved to Los Angeles in 1975, where he formed his own company, Bjorck Film Corp., a pioneering film company representing international distributors. He created the bridge that was needed culturally and the timing was right as the indie business was in its nascent form. He and his son and partner, Lars Bjorck, became an important part of the business in Los Angeles.
In 2001 Bjorck Film Corp. was purchased by company president Penny Karlin and VP Kelly Green, who formed Karlin-Green Media. Bjorck stayed on for a time as a consultant. At that point the company had recently been involved in projects including Michelle Pfeiffer-Sean Penn starrer “I Am Sam, »
- Carmel Dagan
The main character of Nitzan Gilady’s Wedding Doll is a common character archetype, but one that’s rarely given the opportunity to be a lead, and even more rarely placed into a potential romance. Hagit (Moran Rosenblatt) is a young woman living in Israel with a mild mental illness that makes her appear slightly askew to those around her.
Hagit smiles a little too often, slightly stumbles over her words, and just appears a little bit too friendly to those around her. It’s not hard to imagine a version of this movie that plays out like Lucky McKee’s May instead of a romantic comedy sprinkled with social commentary.
It’s not just Hagit’s manner, but her pet habits that cement her reputation as an eccentric in the community. Her room is adorned with a wall of women in wedding dresses, and she spends much of her »
- Michael Snydel
Kieran, here. Today, we celebrate the birthday of one of the screen’s most magnetic (and gallingly non-Oscar nominated) stars, Ewan McGregor.
Looking at McGregor’s filmography, there are definite peaks and valleys though that's to be expected with any performer who has been active for over two decades. For McGregor, a lot of the valleys occurred in recent years, but man…those peaks are impressive, aren’t they? The best of Ewan McGregor makes us hopeful for what the future holds for the talented Scotsman. He makes his feature-film directorial debut this year with American Pastoral, which he also stars in alongside Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and “Orange is the New Black” breakout star (and awards magnet) Uzo Aduba. He also has a sequel to Trainspotting, the role that put him on the map, in the works. Rather than speculating about who he should work with, what projects he »
- Kieran Scarlett
Ben Stiller's professional onscreen career is officially turning 30 this year — that's roughly 412 in comedian years. In a business where funny people tend to quickly exhaust their limited charm and sink from telling jokes to becoming a punchline, the restless and versatile Stiller has managed to sustain one of the most consistent comic careers this side of Bob Hope. From his days as a bit player to his later emergence as a force of nature in front of the camera and behind the scenes (you have his production company Red »
From 500 B.C. to 300 B.C., actors of the Greek theatre wore the masks of comedy and tragedy–those that had come to be the representative symbols of the craft of acting, and the expression of the actor. Somewhere along the line, acting found its way more into a profession than expression. Today, those masks represent a union, or more accurately, a guild of actors that work to protect business with little or no focus on the protection of creative expression.
Throughout my own career as an actor, I’ve worked hard to avoid that label; to find projects that I felt I could serve well in their expression. I tried to avoid careerism. I have had my share of transgressions. Yet overall, my care for the work was such that I sought a body of work that would, within my own limitations, express my generation’s experience.
Now, in my mid-fifties, »
- Sean Penn
7 items from 2016
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